MTPR

Oil

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to streamline the process for oil and gas development on federal lands. Zinke signed an order Thursday mandating Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales be held in each state on at least a quarterly basis.

Zinke noted during a telephone press conference that under the Obama administration BLM fell far short of that legally-mandated limit.

Greater sage grouse. The Department of Interior announced it's decision today not to recommend endangered species protections for the bird.
USFWS (CC-BY-2)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said today he is ordering a review of federal efforts to conserve the imperiled sage grouse. Zinke says he wants to ensure that officials in 11 Western states where the bird lives are fully consulted.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

A Texas oilman is suing the federal government after they canceled his lease, along with two others, in the Badger Two-Medicine area south of Glacier National Park in Montana.

The area is a sacred site for the Blackfeet Nation.

Keystone Pipeline pumping station in Nebraska.
Flickr user shannonpatrick17 (CC-BY-2)

It’s springtime in Montana and that’s keeping Glendive-area farmer Dena Hoff plenty busy these days:

"Oh yes, we’re lambing. It’s been crazy," Hoff says.

Hoff, an irrigated farmer on the Yellowstone River, is also keeping tabs on the Trump administration's activities in Washington D.C. Hoff is particularly disappointed by the President’s decision last week to approve a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline:

Arial view of the Yellowstone River oil spill cleanup, Jan. 2015.
Courtesy Bridger Pipeline LLC

There’s a new plan to restore the Yellowstone River following a 2011 Exxon-Mobil pipeline rupture. The spill leaked 1,500 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone, harming fish and wildlife, and their habitat.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation. The undeveloped leases were first issued in the 1980's in an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

US Considers Mining Limits In West To Save Sage Grouse

Dec 29, 2016
The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (CC-BY-2)

DENVER (AP) — The Obama administration offered five possible plans Thursday for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The options range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

Rep. Ryan Zinke is President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of the Interior.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

On Thursday morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke issued his first press release since media outlets broke the news he was President Elect Donald Trump’s top pick for Secretary of the Interior. In it, he wrote, "I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior."

The confirmation unleashed a mixed bag of reactions.

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters backed off from another potential confrontation with law enforcement Monday afternoon. The two sides had already clashed late Sunday night into early this morning, reportedly leaving several people injured.

"It’s getting real over here once again," says David Yelloweyes of Lame Deer, MT.

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Devon Energy CEO David Hager sign a ceremonial document at the Department of Interior Headquarters in Washington DC, Wednesday morning, as Blackfeet leadership stand behind
U.S. Department of the Interior

The United States Department of the Interior has announced a negotiated settlement with an energy company that cancels 15 of the remaining oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area just east of Glacier National Park. 

Jeff Essmann, chairman of the Montana Republican Party.
Courtesy Montana Legislature

Montana’s Republican leadership says GOP wins here on Election Day are helping advance their long-term plan of tipping the state from at times purple, to completely red.

Republicans swept all of the statewide positions outside of the governor’s office on Election Day, while continuing their majority in the state Legislature. They also maintained their monopoly in the Public Service Commission.

Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

The federal government says a lawsuit challenging their authority to deny an oil and gas lease in the Badger- Two Medicine area next to Glacier National Park should not go to trial.

An onlooker watches as Matt Roberts and Jason Begay, center, interview Syracuse journalism student Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, about her eyewitness account of the clash between protestors and Dakota Access Pipeline security  on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.
Courtesy Olivia Vanni/Montana Journalism Review

There are now thousands of people protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Last weekend, a team of student reporters from the University of Montana made the 12-hour drive to the Sacred Stone Camp to cover the media’s coverage of the protest.

The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota are drawing hundreds of people from across the country, including Montana’s Indian reservations.
Courtesy Orlando Avery

The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota are drawing hundreds of people from across the country, including Montana’s Indian reservations. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet spoke with a Flathead Reservation resident who’s there now.

Cows, Dogs, and 'The Montana Posse' Harass Hiker

May 18, 2016

In September 2012, Ken Ilgunas stuck out his thumb in Denver, Colorado, and hitchhiked 1,500 miles north to the Alberta tar sands. After being duly appalled, he commenced to walk nearly 2,000 miles, (mostly) following the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.

It would become a 4.5 month journey across the Great Plains. To follow the pipe, he couldn't take roads. Instead, he walked across fields, grasslands, and private property. He had to trespass across America.

Climate Activists Debate Over Tactics

May 3, 2016
About 60 people gathered on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn to promote renewable energy. The March 29, 2016 rally was sponsored by the Northern Plains Resource Council.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

The debate about whether or not humans are warming the planet is essentially over – 97 percent of climate scientists agree that we are. But the debate over tactics, about how to reduce our carbon emissions, is just starting to heat up.

Why Energy's Dirty Air Pollution Costs Are Dropping

Mar 31, 2016
(PD)

We often hear about the economic costs of environmental regulation on the energy industry. But there’s a flipside to that equation — the price society pays for pollution. One scientist has added up those costs — and found they’re going down. For Inside Energy, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier went to find out why.

Renewable Energy Missing From Montana Energy Conference Says NPRC

Mar 29, 2016
About 60 people gathered on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn to promote renewable energy. The March 29, 2016 rally was sponsored by the Northern Plains Resource Council.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

About 60 people gathered during a wet snowstorm on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn to rally for renewable energy. The event was scheduled to coincide with Senator Steve Daines’ Montana Energy Conference.  

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The Obama administration has canceled a long disputed oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, a few miles from Glacier National Park.

A few miles outside Glacier National Park in northwest Montana is land known as the Badger-Two Medicine, the ancestral home of the Blackfeet tribe.

But it's also the site of 18 oil and gas development leases, and an energy company is heading to federal court March 10 to fight for the right to drill there after decades of delay.

Blackfeet tribal historian John Murray doesn't want the drilling to begin.

Proposed Rules Target Oil, Gas Waste On Public Lands

Jan 22, 2016
Oil pump.
Dan Boyce

The federal government today proposed new rules to reduce the amount of natural gas released into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands.

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

Today, a federal district court allowed an extension in a case over energy development in the Badger-Two Medicine area of Lewis and Clark National Forest.

The project near Whitefish Mountain Resort is designed to reduce fire danger and protect the City of Whitefish's watershed.
By Donnie Clapp for Whitefish Mountain Resort

The decline of the Canadian dollar can be seen in the empty rooms in hotels and lodges on the U.S. side of the border, in Whitefish.

Some accommodation businesses in the area are struggling to fill rooms while visitation at Whitefish festivals this fall and winter was down about 20 percent.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

A U.S. District Court judge today gave the federal government until November 23 to decide whether a Louisiana company can drill for oil and gas on National Forest land in the Badger Two-Medicine area adjacent to Glacier National Park.

Oil pump.
Dan Boyce

Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke has joined a big push in the House to repeal America’s ban on exporting crude oil. Today the White House said it would veto the bill Zinke is backing.

Oil Crash Raises New Fears About Abandoned Wells

Sep 29, 2015
An abandoned coal bed methane well sits in a pool of water on the outskirts of Gillette, Wyoming.
Stephanie Joyce/Wyoming Public Radio

When energy booms bust, the public is often left responsible for the cleanup. That’s because while most states and the federal government make companies put up at least some money in advance to pay for any mess they leave behind, it’s often not enough.

Greater sage grouse. The Department of Interior announced it's decision today not to recommend endangered species protections for the bird.
USFWS (CC-BY-2)

Governor Steve Bullock says Tuesday’s decision to not recommend endangered species protection for the greater sage grouse is good for both industry and conservationists.

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

Wednesday brings another round in the decades-long fight over whether to allow energy development on U.S. Forest Service land in the Badger-Two Medicine area just south of the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

Blackfeet Campaign To Ban Drilling On Badger-Two Medicine

Apr 22, 2015
Gene Sentz

Wednesday, the Blackfeet Nation launched a campaign urging the termination of oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area southeast of Glacier National Park.

Badger-Two Medicine is home to the Blackfeet stories of creation. Chief Earl Old Person says oil drilling should never be allowed to disrupt the land.

Pipes for Keystone XL Pipeline.
shannonpatrick17 (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana Lawmakers are considering a resolution asking Congress and the President to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama has already vetoed once. Malta Republican Representative Mike Lang told the Senate Energy Committee the pipeline promises benefits for the state and the nation as a whole.

"Pipelines are the safest, most reliable, economical, and environmentally favorable way to transport oil and other petroleum products. Presently, a lot of people don’t know but in Montana, 88 percent of the oil that’s in our refineries comes from Canada, right now, today."

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