Oil Company Surrenders 15 Land Leases on Sacred Native American Land

Oil Company Surrenders 15 Land Leases on Sacred Native American Land

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During a ceremony in Washington, DC this Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Interior announced it was canceling 15 energy exploration leases on land that is sacred to Native Americans.

The Badger-Two Medicine area is an expanse of wilderness stretching along the Montana mountain line that is home to the Blackfeet people. For the last 10,000 years, Blackfeet members have found cultural identity in the 130,000 acres of the Badger-Two Medicine land. The tribe has vehemently protested and opposed the land leases since they were signed without their consultation almost thirty years ago.

The oil and natural gas company in question, Devon Energy Corp, acquired the land leases after merging with another company. Company president David Hager surrendered the land after acknowledging that the pristine landscape was not theirs to invade. The process of fracking that would have gleaned the natural gas could also have harmed the water supply which is in close proximity to the leased parcel.

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There are two land leases left on the holy land that are still owned by other energy companies, but the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, is determined to prevent them from drilling on the Blackfeet territory.

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“This is the right action to take on behalf of current and future generations,” said Secretary Jewell. “Today’s action honors Badger-Two Medicine’s rich cultural and natural resources and recognizes the irreparable impacts that oil and gas development would have on them.”

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