Development plans dropped, BP exec tells Baucus, Tester and Schweitzer

Elected officials say development in Flathead River Basin “should never be on the table”

(KALISPELL, MONT.) – Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Governor Brian Schweitzer announced today that BP America has dropped plans for coal-bed methane drilling in British Columbia, north of Glacier National Park.

BP America President Bob Malone notified Baucus, Tester and Schweitzer of the company's intentions after concerned citizens and the Montana officials placed pressure on the company and the B.C. government.  Development in the Flathead River Basin has drawn strong environmental concerns in British Columbia, Montana, and on the Flathead Reservation.

"This is a big win for Montana's outdoor heritage. We've been fighting to protect the Flathead for 30 years because development and the North Fork do not mix," said Baucus, Montana's senior U.S. Senator. "Today's decision takes us one step closer to permanently protecting Montana jobs, water quality and wildlife. I'm proud of Montanans for standing up for what's right.

 "This is great news.  Folks in the Flathead mobilized against this terrible idea and Brian, Max and I went to work," said Tester, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  "As the 'Crown of the Continent,' Glacier-Waterton is one of the most pristine and cherished environments in the world and development there—by any company—should never be on the table."

"This is a positive step forward," said Governor Brian Schweitzer, who has taken a strong stance about development in the North Fork of the Flathead.  "This has been a priority since the first month I took office." 

Governor Schweitzer was the first governor to go to British Columbia to meet with the premier on the issue.  "This is good news, and we will continue to negotiate with our friends north of the border to ensure the Crown of the Continent receives the protections it deserves."

All three officials have strongly opposed any development plans in the Flathead River Basin, north of Glacier National Park.