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Blackfoot Tribe, sacred area, Lewis & Clark National Forest
Tenderfoot Creek and the surrounding area in Lewis & Clark National Forest. (Photo: US Forest Service)

Judge asked to restore cancelled energy lease in sacred area

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Louisiana energy company is asking a federal judge to reverse the cancellation of a 33-year-old oil and gas lease on land considered sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.

Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge filed court papers Monday seeking a judgment in the case that’s before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C.

The 6,200-acre lease is in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. It’s just outside Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

U.S. Interior Department officials cancelled the lease in March.

They said it was improperly issued in part because environmental studies did not consider the effects of drilling on the tribes.

Government attorneys must respond to the company’s request to restore the lease within two weeks.

 

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