Judge restores energy lease on Montana land sacred to tribes
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has reinstated an oil and gas lease on land in northwestern Montana that's considered sacred to some Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C. said in a late Monday ruling that President Barack Obama's Interior Department improperly canceled the 6,200-acre lease adjacent to Glacier National Park in 2016.
The lease is held by Solenex, LLC of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It's within the Badger Two-Medicine area of Lewis and Clark National Forest — site of the creation story of the Blackfoot tribes of southern Canada and Montana's Blackfeet Nation.
Solenex attorney William Perry Pendley says the Trump administration should let the company proceed with drilling.
U.S. Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle says government attorneys are reviewing the ruling.