Photographs of the Badger Two Medicine Area - Controversy oil and gas drill - Obama Cancels remaining oil leases blackfeet nation
UPDATE: Chief Mountain Leased for Oil Drilling It's official, according to Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) records, the sacred Chief Mountain on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, has been leased for oil and gas drilling. Back in May of 2013 the BIA approved leases to all of the Blackfeet controlled lands on the reservation, around Chief Mountain. I cant say whether the area will be drilled, but it is now under a 5 year lease.
This map shows the new leases around Chief Mountain. The area to the west is Glacier National Park.
This oil drilling map will show you the entire reservation area. Chief Mountain is in the upper left of the Blackfeet reservation area. This is a short video I made a few years ago, of the Chief Mountain area now leased for oil drilling.
In the wake of what some are calling great news, there's a new legacy on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation - post fracking, but what should be expected? As Anschutz Oil announced it's leaving the Blackfeet Reservation after drilling 14 exploratory wells, (related story from the Denver Post) there are many questions unanswered, and an uncertain future on the Reservation. Just because they "pulled out," does not mean it's time to quit thinking about oil exploration and the legacy now left in the hands of the Blackfeet people. The truth is, there are impacts and there will continue to be impacts long into the future from fracking and drilling.
In fairness to the Blackfeet Tribe and Anschutz Oil, we have not seen any plans to restore any of the sights. To our knowledge, the tribal public is not sure what to expect in the way of clean up, restoration or monitoring. The Tribe and BIA have not been forthcoming with it's plans for clean up and restoration.
There still are many questions. Who will monitor the wells? What is going to happen to the producing wells? Will there me more fracking of existing wells? Will another oil company come in and do more exploration? Who's watching over Anschutz or whomever buys and operates the what they left behind? There is a legacy and a cost to oil exploration, the question is who's going to pay and what does the future hold?
Maybe the newly formed Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance can shed some light on this? Here's their facebook page: Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance
Only the Blackfeet Tribe has the answers.
The cell phone rang Thursday and on the other end was Leslie MacMillian a writer for the New York Times. She said she was interested in talking to me about my photography work and the map created by Stacy Dolderer, documenting the oil drilling on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. This has been an ongoing project for me since about 2010. There's no end in sight. The drilling continues with more wells near Glacier National Park planned. Read the full story: "A Snapshot of Drilling on a Park’s Margins"
I've attached three new photographs of two drill rigs, the first two are the Red Blanket site on the Blackfeet Reservation, and third is a drill rig south of the Reservation and west of Bynum, Montana. The short video is of the Red Blanket site near Star School, west of Browning, Montana, Glacier National Park is in the background. Video - Red Blanket Drill Site
Red Blanket Well
Red Blanket well, west of Browning, Montana
Rocky Mountain Front well, west of Bynum, Montana
For a complete description of the larger project please visit, "Blackfeet oil project description." To view an interactive map of the oil drilling visit, "oil drilling map Rocky Mountain Front, Blackfeet Indian Reservation."