All federal leases threatened by unilateral BLM cancellation of oil and gas leases in Montana

as originally published by

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell (AP Photo)

( – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced last week the cancellation of a long-standing oil and gas exploration lease on federal land in Montana.

Louisiana-based Solenex LLC has held the lease since the early 1980s in a remote area of Montana’s Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, where oil and gas leasing has since been banned by the federal government.

The Department of the Interior (DOI), of which BLM is a part, said in a March 17 press release that it has the authority to cancel leases.

“In 1982, absent of tribal consultation and a thorough review of environmental and cultural studies, the U.S Forest Service granted 47 oil and gas permit leases in and around the Badger-Two Medicine area,” a press release issued on March 17 stated.

“For over two decades the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and many non-Native conservation and historical preservation groups have sought the cancellation of these permit leases,” it stated.

“While a number of these leases were subsequently cancelled through Congressional action and other measures, the Blackfeet Tribe has sought the cancellation of the remaining leases that would cause irreparable damage to Badger-Two Medicine,” BLM added.

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