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Glacier National Park

Judge asked to lift hold on drilling lease near Glacier park

BILLINGS, Mont. — An attorney for a Louisiana oil company has asked a judge to reject the government’s proposed timeline for lifting its hold on an energy lease on land in Montana that’s sacred among American Indians.

The request comes as a federal historic preservation panel plans a public hearing Wednesday in Choteau on whether to allow drilling on the 6,200-acre lease site near Glacier National Park.

The Blackfeet tribes of the U.S. and Canada are opposed to drilling on what they consider their spiritual homeland. They argue the lease was illegally issued because the Montana tribe was not consulted first.

But Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge wants U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to lift a longstanding suspension of the leases so the Baton Rouge company can begin drilling. Solenex attorney Steven Lechner said the government’s proposed schedule for the matter will add years to the three-decade delay the company already has endured.

The company sued in 2013 to lift the suspension, and in July Leon ordered federal agencies involved in the process to write a timeline for ending their review.

Previous consultations with the tribe and Solenex representatives ended in July without an agreement.

The advisory council will provide comments to the U.S. Forest Service by Sept. 21 on the effects of drilling on historic properties in the area and how to avoid or minimize those effects.

After that, the Forest Service will make its recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management by the end of October. The BLM then will decide whether to pursue the path of lifting the suspension or begin the process of canceling the lease outright.

If the lease is canceled, the process is expected to take four months. The process to lift the suspension may involve a further environmental review that would push back drilling to 2017.

In related news, Public hearing to be held on drilling lease near Glacier.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


  1. Oh come on, move on to modern life already!

  2. I work in the patch and i don’t wanna see this get drilled at all! Last best place and you wanna drill a well?

  3. Has anyone bother to study the geology in the area– mountains are metamorphic —

    • Thad, they drilled several wells in the overthrust along the mountain front in the general area back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. They ran seismic back then, so I am sure they have a general idea. That being said, the surveys are so much better now, and I don’t know if they have run any recently. I do know they have drilled some horizontal wells around the area in the last few years.

  4. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an international instrument adopted by the United Nations on September 13, 2007, to enshrine (according to Article 43) the rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.” The UNDRIP protects collective rights that may not be addressed in other human rights charters that emphasize individual rights, and it also safeguards the individual rights of Indigenous people. The Declaration is the product of almost 25 years of deliberation by U.N. member states and Indigenous groups.

    The first of the UNDRIP’s 46 articles declares that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(4) and international human rights law.” The Declaration goes on to guarantee the rights of Indigenous peoples to enjoy and practice their cultures and customs, their religions, and their languages, and to develop and strengthen their economies and their social and political institutions. Indigenous peoples have the right to be free from discrimination, and the right to a nationality.

    Unless the band/tribe/First Nation has signed an extinguishment of rights agreement with the United States … nobody can do anything legally without their consent. Of course the imperialistic ‘manifest destiny’ paradigm does its best to ignore true legal realities when it is fuelled by nothing but greed.

    The assumption goes that the only kind of church possible is one with a nice big steeple right?

  5. Preserve those mountains. This is one of the few things we need to save instead of drilling..

  6. As in the residential mortgage sector, credit that is tight has received a
    chilling effect to households of worship.

  7. In keeping with the IbisWorld market analysis report,
    the worldwide actual estate market grew to $6 trillion as of November.

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