Judge Says Cultural Studies in Lease Case are Confidential

Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge wants to drill for oil and gas in northwest Montana's Badger-Two Medicine area

By Dillon Tabish
Sunset over the Badger-Two Medicine area. Beacon File Photo

BILLINGS — A federal judge has ordered a Louisiana company not to disclose details of cultural studies conducted in an area near Glacier National Park where the company bought a disputed energy lease.

Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge wants to drill for oil and gas in northwest Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine area. The company wants U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to overturn a March decision by federal officials canceling its 6,200-acre lease.

The area is considered sacred by the Blackfoot tribes of the United States and Canada. Studies on its significance have been conducted since the 1990s.

Judge Richard Leon said in a Monday order that Solenex cannot disclose information from those studies as it pursues its lawsuit against the government. Attorneys for the government and Solenex had previously agreed to the restriction.

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