In the heart of the Crown of the Continent, the Badger-Two Medicine (B2M) on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front, is a 130,000-acre area bounded on the north by Glacier National Park and on the east by the Blackfeet Reservation. The Great Bear and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas lie to the west and south. The B2M is a Traditional Cultural District (TCD) under the National Historic Preservation Act because of its religious and cultural significance to the Blackfeet Nation.
For over 30 years, citizens, energy companies and the federal government were battling over oil and gas leases in the area. In the 1980s two large energy companies acquired oil and gas leases on almost two-thirds of the B2M area. Fortunately, however, the U.S. Department of the Interior stepped in and suspended the leases until a cultural resources inventory could be completed, and then placed a moratorium on new drilling in the area.
In 2006, Senator Max Baucus passed legislation with bipartisan support to prohibit future federal energy leasing along the Rocky Mountain Front as well as providing tax incentives for lease holders to sell or donate their Front leases. The law also prohibits re-leasing of an existing lease that expires or is retired. Since the lease withdrawal legislation became law approximately 110,800 acres (much of it in the B2M) of what was more than 152,000 acres leased by the federal government for energy development along Montana's Front have been permanently retired.
The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the Tribal Historic Preservation Office and the B2M Committee have all gone on record in opposition to oil/gas development in the Badger. They urged the federal government and Montana's delegation to work with lessees to terminate the existing leases. And finally, in March 2016, the BLM canceled the Hall Creek lease. This lease had threatened the ecological integrity of Glacier NP and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
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