Tester Statement on Badger-Two Medicine Court Decision
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today the following statement after a D.C. Court decision to overturn a lower court ruling that had reinstated the Solenex lease on the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area:
“There are some places you just shouldn’t drill, and the Badger-Two Medicine is one of those places. That’s why today’s ruling is a huge win for our public lands that would not have been possible without tireless work by the Blackfeet Tribe and folks on the ground who fought to protect this sacred, breathtaking area. But while today’s battle is won, the fight goes on, and make no mistake – I am going to keep pushing until we make sure the Badger-Two Medicine is permanently protected for generations to come.”
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service granted 47 oil and gas leases in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area in 1982 without consulting with the Blackfeet Tribe. Two years later, a drilling permit was approved for one of the leases, but drilling was stalled when a moratorium was placed on oil and gas drilling in the area. Many of those were eventually relinquished voluntarily or cancelled by the Interior Department. The Interior Department cancelled the controversial Solonex oil and gas lease in 2016, though a 2018 court decision overturned that cancellation. Senator Tester pushed the Interior Department to appeal the decision and defend the lease cancellation.
Today’s decision reaffirms the lease cancellation on the last remaining lease in the Badger-Two Medicine Area.
Tester has long supported protecting the Badger-Two Medicine, and has repeatedly called on the Department of the Interior to cancel the remaining leases in the area, citing the area's importance to the Blackfeet Tribe and Montana's sportsmen and women.
The Badger-Two Medicine is located at the intersection of the Blackfeet Reservation, Glacier National Park, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.