U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced Jan. 14 that five energy companies have agreed to relinquish oil and gas leases on nearly 29,000 acres in Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front adjacent to Glacier National Park.
Baucus said this step “will help preclude oil and gas development and preserve fish and wildlife habitat in this unique area, which is important to citizens of Montana and the rest of the country.”
Collectively, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Williams Cos., Rosewood Resources, XTO Energy Inc., and BP are relinquishing leases on 28,730 acres. The companies voluntarily relinquished their leases and did not receive any consideration for their actions.
The oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest were returned to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and cannot be leased again because they are located in an area withdrawn from future leasing under a law that Senator Baucus helped enact in 2006.
“This is a great day for Montanans and I want to thank the energy companies for making this decision,” said Senator Baucus.
Of the more than 152,000 acres of federal mineral leases originally held along the Front, nearly 111,000 acres will be permanently retired after this transaction. These protected federal lands will complement tens of thousands of privately owned acres already put into conservation easements in this area.