Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Celebrating end of Badger Two-Medicine lease

| September 13, 2023 2:00 AM

In 1977, “Friends of the Rocky Mountain Front,” a local group based in Choteau, began working toward preserving the wild integrity of all the Front, including the Badger-Two Medicine.  It joined with other conservation organizations in the “Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front” in deciding to not include the Badger-Two Medicine in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act due to (1) Blackfeet treaty rights, and (2) oil and gas leases which still existed in the Badger-Two Medicine at the time.      

However, in 2006 the Coalition already had achieved passage of an Act which arguably was equally as important as the 2014 Heritage Act; that is, the congressional withdrawal from mineral entry to all federal minerals along the Front, including the Badger-Two Medicine, for oil and gas and hardrock mining.  The legislation passed without much fanfare, yet it is critically important for the future.

That 2006 Act of Congress prohibits any new oil and gas leasing and/or hardrock mine claim-staking on all public lands of the Front, including the Badger-Two Medicine, forever – unless another Act of Congress overturns it, which is unlikely ever to happen. 

Now with the exciting news that the last lease in the Badger-Two Medicine finally has been retired, we can celebrate that there is little or no chance that we will ever again have to deal with the threat of major industrial development in the Badger-Two Medicine or any of the Front’s public lands in the one-hundred-miles between Marias Pass and Rogers Pass.

Thanks to the Blackfeet Tribe, the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, and all the conservation groups and individuals who worked for four decades to reach this positive outcome!  

Gene and Linda Sentz