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Fighting Oil and Gas Development in the Badger-Two Medicine Region

Two Medicine River from the Hall Creek trail.

Two Medicine River from the Hall Creek trail.

Photo provided by Gene Sentz

What's at Stake

The land is considered sacred to the Blackfeet Tribe.

The area is the last remaining stronghold along the Rocky Mountain Front for genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout. It also harbors key winter and summer range for over 800 elk and offer critical secure habitat for grizzly bears.

Case Overview

The Badger-Two Medicine is a wild and undeveloped area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest located between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This landscape is also considered sacred to the Blackfeet Tribe. The 165,588-acre area was designated a Traditional Cultural District under the National Preservation Historic Act in recognition of its importance to the Blackfeet people. Biologically, this area is the last remaining stronghold along the Front for genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout. The area also provides key winter and summer range for over 800 elk and represents a large block of crucial secure habitat for grizzly bears.

Interest in finding a long-term solution to a contested 6,200-acre federal oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine region has grown since Solenex LLC rekindled intentions in the summer of 2013 to develop the lease area. The stakes are high, given that “the Badger” is regarded as “holy land” by traditional Blackfeet who have consistently opposed energy development throughout the 130,000-acre wildlands. That opposition was codified through a 2004 Blackfoot Confederacy proclamation stating the tribe “will not consent and will not approve any energy development within the Badger-Two Medicine and will vigorously oppose any proposals for such development.”

The lease, located near Hall Creek, was issued thirty years ago over the objections of Blackfeet tribal members, wildlife biologists, hunters, and Montanans from across the state.

While the majority of “the Badger” was leased in the 1980’s, most of these leases have since been voluntarily relinquished by companies and leaseholders who have taken full advantage of legislation originally proposed by former Senator Conrad Burns and ultimately passed by Senator Max Baucus in 2006.

Case ID

2573, 2989



Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance
Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance

Case Updates

May 10, 2016 | Legal Document

Memorandum in Support of Motion to Reopen

A coalition of Blackfeet cultural leaders, local community members, and conservationists filed a request in federal court to oppose a Louisiana oil company’s legal campaign to drill in the Badger-Two Medicine area of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front.

March 17, 2016 | Legal Document

Interior Dept. Cancels Solenex Lease

Federal Defendants notify the Court that the BLM, with the concurrence of the Department of the Interior, has canceled the Lease.

March 17, 2016 | Feature

Too Sacred To Drill

As Earthjustice builds its legal case to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area, the Blackfeet Nation is building a movement, drawn together by collective outrage over the oil industry’s demands to drill a treasured landscape.

November 23, 2015 | Legal Document

Response to Court Order

Solenex LLC. v. S.M.R. Jewell, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, et al.

November 3, 2015 | In the News: Montana Public Radio

Ag. Secretary Urges Cancellation Of Badger-Two Medicine Drilling Leases

Tim Preso, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice: "But at the end of the day only one entity gets to make the decision. And that’s the Interior Department. It created this situation when it issued the leases despite the protests of so many people back in the 1980s. And it issued a drilling permit over the protest of so many people in the 1990s. Now that decision is coming home to roost.”

September 23, 2015 | Blog Post

Too Wild to Drill

A federal advisory panel has urged the Obama administration to cancel or withdraw leases for natural gas drilling near Glacier National Park in Montana after finding that the wild and scenic area is too sacred for drilling.

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