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Fighting Dirty Energy In The Flathead River Basin

Flathead Valley.

The Flathead provides abundant habitat for grizzly bears, wolves, and wolverines.

Photo courtesy of TMView / Flickr

What’s at Stake

Dirty energy development threatened one of the most wild and beautiful landscapes left in the United States—Montana’s Flathead River and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Earthjustice took action, and development proposals in the region were banned by the Canada and the state of Montana in 2010.


The Flathead River flows from British Columbia south into Montana and forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park. Coalbed methane gas extraction and open-pit coal mining in the Canadian headwaters of the Flathead River threatened to fragment the Flathead's abundant habitat for grizzly bears, wolves, and wolverines, and to pollute the river's pristine waters.

Earthjustice engaged with international and domestic agencies to advocate for the Flathead River’s headwaters and the rich region they support. In 2010, British Columbia, in partnership with the state of Montana, has agreed to ban mining, oil and gas development, and coalbed gas extraction in the valley.

Case ID


Case Updates

March 25, 2011 | Feature

Crown of the Continent: Taming the Wild West

The "Crown of the Continent" ecosystem is one of the largest undeveloped landscapes remaining in the country, containing some of the most spectacular scenery and intact wildlife populations in the United States. But climate change is now dramatically altering this region, one of America's last wild places.

March 25, 2011 | Feature

Down to Earth: Tim Preso on Wildlife of the Crown of the Continent

Earthjustice is working to protect some of the threatened species in the Crown and elsewhere in the northern Rockies. Listen to Earthjustice Attorney Tim Preso speak about the importance of wolverines and other iconic wildlife to the region.

March 25, 2011 | Feature

Down to Earth: Tim Preso on the Crown of the Continent

Over the past decade, Earthjustice Attorney Tim Preso has spearheaded Earthjustice's work to protect the wild, relatively untouched area known as the Crown of the Continent. Tim talks about the ongoing work to protect the 10 million acre ecosystem that stretches from Northern Montana into Canada.

March 24, 2011 | Feature

Down to Earth: Climate Change in Glacier National Park

Over the past 15 years, Dan Fagre has worked to understand how climate change will affect mountain ecosystems such as Glacier National Park, the cornerstone of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem and a major focus of Earthjustice's litigation. Scientists like Fagre predict that, due to rising temperatures, Glacier National Park will be glacier free by 2020. Listen to an audio interview with Dan.