"Blackfeet Indian Reservation" "Blackfeet oil drilling"

Anschutze Leaves Blackfeet Country - but who's going to clean up the mess?

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.

anschutz oil well on the blackfeet indian reservation

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.

Tony Bynum



Photography With a Purpose - Oil Drilling on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation

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"

drill rigs set up to frack oil on the blackfeet reservation with rising wolf mountain glacier national park, montana, usa  the background (Tony Bynum/tonybynum.com)

Tony Bynum

Blackfeet Oil Documentation Project News

On January 26th, The Great Falls Tribune interviewed Tony with the focus on the Rocky Mountain Front/Blackfeet Oil documentation project.  It is a "print only" report which means the story can be purchased for online viewers.  GF Tribune write, Karl Puckett wrote:

Tony Bynum of East Glacier has photographed grizzly bears, elk and Glacier National Park. Oil drilling rigs are the focus of his latest work.

The professional outdoors photographer, whose shots have been featured in outdoors magazines including Outdoor Life and Field and Stream, has turned his attention to commercial oil and gas development on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation abutting Glacier Park.

This week, he launched "Oil Drilling — the Rocky Mountain Front and Blackfeet Indian Reservation" — at tonybynum.com. The site features oil development photographs and videos and an interactive map.