In the wake of what some are calling great news, there’s a new legacy on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation – post fracking, but what should be expected? As Anschutz Oil announced it’s leaving the Blackfeet Reservation after drilling 14 exploratory wells, (related story from the Denver Post) there are many questions unanswered, and an uncertain future on the Reservation.
Just because they “pulled out,” does not mean it’s time to quit thinking about oil exploration and the legacy now left in the hands of the Blackfeet people. The truth is, there are impacts and there will continue to be impacts long into the future from fracking and drilling.
In fairness to the Blackfeet Tribe and Anschutz Oil, we have not seen any plans to restore any of the sights. To our knowledge, the tribal public is not sure what to expect in the way of clean up, restoration or monitoring. The Tribe and BIA have not been forthcoming with it’s plans for clean up and restoration.
There still are many questions. Who will monitor the wells? What is going to happen to the producing wells? Will there me more fracking of existing wells? Will another oil company come in and do more exploration? Who’s watching over Anschutz or whomever buys and operates the what they left behind? There is a legacy and a cost to oil exploration, the question is who’s going to pay and what does the future hold?
Maybe the newly formed Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance can shed some light on this? Here’s their facebook page: Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance
Only the Blackfeet Tribe has the answers.