Tester Statement on Badger-Two Medicine Settlement
After years of work with the Blackfeet Tribe to protect Badger-Two Medicine and cancel controversial oil and gas leases on the sacred land, U.S. Senator Jon Tester issued the following statement in response to today’s settlement that buys an out-of-state developer out of their current oil and gas lease and preserves Badger-Two Medicine’s sacred lands for future generations:
“Badger-Two Medicine is a part of what makes Montana the Last Best Place, and it’s importance to the Blackfeet Tribe along with its added value to our $7.1 billion outdoor economy makes it a place we shouldn’t drill or dig. After working alongside the Tribe for years to protect this breathtaking area, today’s settlement is great news for the people of Montana and Blackfeet Nation. This announcement is a reminder that we can get things done when we work hard and stick together in Montana.”
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.
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.