August 2015 Things are really heating up in the Badger-Two Medicine!
Wildland fires are burning in and around the Badger. Visibility is minimal, the air is smoky, and we hear the air quality “is worse than in Beijing”. (I wonder why Beijing?) The next towns to the west and the south have been evacuated while fire crews work tirelessly to protect local structures.
Things are cooking when it comes to those oil leases, too.
Louisiana oilman Sidney Longwell’s federal suit aims to force the Forest Service to let him build a road into the Badger-Two Med next Spring, then to begin drilling for oil and gas in the Badger’s Hall Creek drainage, and ultimately to limit Federal ability to regulate private energy development on public lands. A broad-based partnership, including the Blackfeet Tribe with its descendants and members, surrounding residents, local and national and trans-national conservation groups, scientists, state and federal government representatives, are all working hard to make sure Mr. Longwell’s drilling rigs never break ground in the Badger.
These 1980s oil leases are illegal and always have been. The Blackfeet maintain an ancient and culture-defining relationship with the Badger-Two Medicine, recognized by the federal government as historic and worth preserving. Quiet recreationalists of all stripes, including hikers, climbers, hunters, fishers, birders, snowshoers, families and friends, enjoy the Badger. The land itself is wild, intact, and full of original flora and fauna. The Badger-Two Medicine is public land, and the public has repeatedly spoken out for its conservation.
All that is truth. We read that truth, and about the amazing effort to save the Badger-Two Med, again and again these days in the newspapers and in digital media. We hear it on the radio and watch it on YouTube. In the days and weeks ahead things are going to get even hotter for the Badger, and the work is unlikely to get easier. In the end, (if we persevere!), that work can only lead to success: Mr. Longwell and extractive industry will fail in their effort to turn the Hall Creek drainage into an oil and gas field; the remaining illegitimate oil leases will be permanently cancelled; and the Badger-Two Medicine will gain permanent protection of its cultural, wildland, and quiet-recreational qualities.
If you haven’t already, I hope you will join us in that effort.
Yeah…, things in the Badger are heating up. They’re cooking! And I think we’ll soon get to celebrate the results.
President, Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance
East Glacier Park, Montana