GREAT FALLS, MT - May 5 - A study released today uses federal government data to demonstrate that the Blackleaf area of Montanas Rocky Mountain Front, which is now being studied for possible new drilling by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), contains less than a days worth of natural gas and 15 minutes of oil for the nation. The analysis also found that the entire Front (federal lands) contains less than a weeks worth of natural gas and 20 minutes of oil.
"This report shows that it makes no sense to drill the Front," said Gene Sentz from the Front community of Choteau. "For almost a 100 years, Montanans have worked together to protect the Front. Its crazy to throw that legacy away for a miniscule amount of natural gas especially when so many other places in the Rockies are already open to energy exploration."
One of Americas most stunning landscapes, Montanas Rocky Mountain Front faces a new round of natural gas drilling proposals. The 45 day "scoping" period for a BLM analysis of drilling in the Blackleaf area of the Front ends June 1 and BLM open houses on drilling in this area also are happening this month.
To better understand the tradeoffs with proposed energy development on the Front, The Wilderness Society used data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to estimate the amount of "economically recoverable" natural gas and oil along the Front and several sub-areas. "Economically recoverable" oil and gas (defined as "technically recoverable" gas that is estimated to be profitable to extract) is recommended by the Congressional Research Service as the appropriate basis for policy analysis.
KEY REPORT FINDINGS
The Blackleaf area contains less than a days worth of natural gas and 15 minutes of oil for the nation.
The Badger Two Medicine area contains less than two days of natural gas and five seconds of oil.
The entire Montana Front (federal lands) contains less than a week of natural gas and 20 minutes of oil.
"It's important that the public have a full understanding of whats at stake along the Front," said The Wilderness Societys Peter Aengst. "Drilling the Front could mean trading a few minutes of oil and a few days of gas for a lifetime of watershed protection, recreation, hunting and other benefits for current and future generations of Montanans."
You may download and view the report fact sheet, "A GIS Analysis of Economically Recoverable Gas and Oil in the Rocky Mountain Front of Montana." This fact sheet includes summary tables and an explanation of methodology.