Chief Mountain Leased for Oil Development

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.

chief mountain fall colors glacier national park (Tony Bynum/

This map shows the new leases around Chief Mountain. The area to the west is Glacier National Park.

Area in black is leased for oil drilling around chief mountain. The area to the left, or the west, it Glacier National Park
Area in black is leased for oil drilling around chief mountain. The area to the left, or the west, it Glacier National Park


Tony Bynum

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