Wednesday, October 05, 2016

BLM’s plan for 65 illegal leases on White River National Forest woefully out of balance

The Obama administration wants a federal judge to uphold its decision to block oil and gas drilling on land considered sacred to some tribes in the U.S. and Canada, as industry groups warn the government's move sets a precedent against energy development. Justice Department attorneys urged the judge in court documents filed Monday to reject a lawsuit that seeks to reinstate a 6,200-acre energy lease in Montana that was canceled by the Obama administration in March. The cancellation of the lease near Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation has been assailed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Petroleum Association of Montana. Federal officials contend the lease was improperly issued by the government in 1982, in part because environmental studies by the U.S. Forest Service did not consider the effects of drilling on the tribes. The lease is within a 165,000-acre area deemed by the government to be a traditional cultural district of the Blackfoot tribes. It's the site of the creation story for the Blackfoot tribes of southern Canada and the Blackfeet Nation of Montana...more

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