Today’s oil and gas lease retirement announcement is historic in our decades’ long effort to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area, sacred to the Blackfeet Nation and connected to Glacier National Park.
Browning, MT – More than 7,600 acres of oil and gas leases were permanently retired today, in the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National Park. Moncrief Oil and Gas Master, LLC and The Wilderness Society announced that they reached an out-of-court settlement resulting in the permanent retirement.
Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association
“Today’s oil and gas lease retirement announcement is a historic and proud day in our decades’ long effort to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area, sacred to the Blackfeet Nation and connected to Glacier National Park. The wild lands are surrounded by Glacier, the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and are home to clear and clean rivers, stunning mountain vistas and room to roam for bears, wolves and wolverines.
“We have always preferred to see oil companies like Moncrief Oil negotiate the end of their leasing agreement in this wild area, versus litigate. While the leadership at Solenex oil has chosen to remain the only company still sitting in court instead of the settlement table, the National Parks Conservation Association remains unwavering in our support to bring justice to the Blackfeet Nation by permanently protecting the Badger-Two Medicine region.”
The 7,640-acre Moncrief Oil lease, located on the Lewis and Clark National Forest, was first issued in 1982, and has been held by Moncrief for more than three decades. Moncrief’s lease was cancelled by the Department of Interior in early 2017. This action was challenged in the DC District Court and overturned, with the lease reinstated in June 2019. The district court’s ruling and lease reinstatement had been appealed by conservation, sportsmen, and Blackfeet interests and their appeal was pending before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals when the settlement was reached.
The 132,000 acre Badger- Two Medicine area has had a series of lease retirements over the past decade. In 2016, Devon Energy agreed that in return for sunk costs it would voluntarily relinquish its 15 leases within the Badger Two Medicine area (totaling 23,000 acres).
With today’s announcement on the relinquishment of Moncrief’s lease, there remains only one oil and gas leaseholder in the Badger Two Medicine area, Solenex LLC. The company’s 6,200 acre lease was cancelled by the government in 2016,but reinstated in 2018 after the D.C. District Court ruled for Solenex. This case is currently in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.
Located between Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Blackfeet Indian reservation, the Badger- Two Medicine Area is within an area of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front that Congress withdrew from future oil and gas leasing in 2006.
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About the National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.