Press Release

Victory for Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine

meadow and mountain

Tony Bynum

An oil drilling lease in the Badger-Two has been retired

Today, The Wilderness Society (TWS) announced an important out-of-court agreement resulting in the relinquishment of Moncrief Oil’s oil and gas lease within the sacred Badger-Two Medicine area. The agreement reached between TWS and Moncrief helps protect the vital ecological and cultural values of this pristine area and honors the Blackfeet Nation which has long opposed industrial development of any kind in this area. The agreement was made possible by the Wyss Foundation which has helped to secure a number of past lease retirements along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front.

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society said:

“The Wilderness Society thanks Mr. W.A. Moncrief, Jr. for his willingness to negotiate toward a workable solution, and we are pleased to have been able to secure the retirement of this lease. We are also deeply grateful to Hansjörg Wyss and the Wyss Foundation for helping make this critical step possible. We look forward to working with our partners in the Blackfeet Nation and other stakeholders to obtain permanent protections for this important area of our nation’s public lands.”


The Badger Two Medicine area is on Lewis and Clark National Forest land and located between Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Blackfeet Reservation.

With the completion of this deal, only one oil and gas lease now remains in the Badger-Two Medicine area, held by Solenex, LLC. This lease was cancelled in 2016 but reinstated in 2018 after the Washington D.C. District Court ruled. The federal government and The Wilderness Society, as one of the intervenors, are currently challenging this lower court ruling and this lease in the D.C. Court of Appeals. Solenex is represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF). William Perry Pendley, acting director for the BLM, was MSLF president for 30 years and represented Solenex arguing that the Badger-Two Medicine should be opened up for energy development.  The BLM oversees mineral leasing on federal lands, including the lease held by Solenex in the Badger-Two Medicine. Recently, Pendley recused himself from the Solenex case and over fifty other matters.

The leases were initially made available by Interior Secretary James Watt during the Reagan administration. Time Magazine has named Watt one of the worst cabinet secretaries in modern history.

For more information, contact Tony Iallonardo at