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Interactive Map ~ Blackfeet Indian Reservation Oil Exploration

Oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation (link to photographs) and now the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana and Alberta Canada is expanding. The map below shows, oil drilling and fracking activity is spread relatively evenly across the Blackfeet Reservation (Blackfeet Reservation boundary in red). The yellow icons Tony Bynum are linked to photographs which also contain descriptions. The blue icons Tony Bynum Video link to videos.

Where there is oil drilling or fracking activity in the photograph, I tried to capture the relationship between Glacier National Park and the drilling. In other cases, the images are of wide open, undeveloped prairie or mountain prairie interface all leased for drilling. To see a more detailed description of this project, please visit, “Oil Drilling – the Rocky Mountain Front and Blackfeet Indian Reservation.”

These images of oil rigs drilling on the Blackfeet Reservation were gathered starting in 2010. I will continue to add new photos and expand this project to include images of the social and cultural impacts of such rapid change.  Back to the map, there are some windmill icons on the far eastern edge of the map, and just east of the Reservation boundary that represent wind power development. The areas is called Ethridge, MT. The area where no wind turbines are shown it the Kevin Rim, it is scheduled for a wind farm. The area has the highest density of nesting cliff raptors in Montana.

Please consider signing up for my updates (right column) and donating to this cause. This is a self funded, interdependent project, I have no sponsors. Since the project went live, I have recieved some gennerous contrabutions from people all over the world. Today, private contributions amount to about $2,000. This project would not have made it to the world wide web, without the tireless dedication and hard work of Stacy Dolderer, the brains behind the platform and the web guru. Please help us keep this project alive by donating at the link below the map; any amount will help.  Thank you very much!

A Blackfeet Oil Drilling Press Kit containing project information and photographs to accompany your story is available.

**NOTE Clicking the place markers twice will open the balloon to it’s full size.

$ 870 raised.
Is this project important to you? Support us in our effort to provide ongoing, multi-faceted documentation of oil development on the Blackfeet Reservation and Rocky Mountain Front! Thank you!

28 Responses to “Interactive Map ~ Blackfeet Indian Reservation Oil Exploration”

  1. Morgan says:

    cool topic, very relevant now!

    • Tony says:

      Thank you Morgan. I think this project touches on so much of what’s going on today. Energy, environment, climate change, land use, cultural change, water and air pollution, and energy demand. The one thing that is most compelling about this place is it’s uniqueness to the world. Glacier National Park, the Rocky Mountain Front, and the Blackfeet Nation. Grizzly bears live on the prairie, horses and buffalo move around freely and life is clean. I’m afraid with all this rapid change will come serious consequences if things are not carefully managed, and so far what I have seen leads me to believe that the oil is the goal. Thank you for your interest! Tony

  2. mary v jones says:

    Send me address and any other information. If you’re asking for help I’m willing to do the little I can do. MJ

    • Tony says:

      For anyone that wants to make a donation by mail, you can do so by mailing it to: Tony Bynum PO Box 441 East Glacier Park, MT 59434

      Thank you! Tony

  3. Tony Bynum says:

    Thank you guys! I hope i can help raise awareness for of this activity and educate a few people about what’s going on around glacier park, the badger two medicine, the rocky mountain front and the crown of the continent. For everyone that donates I’m sending out a signed print of glacier park . . . Thank you for your help. PO Box 441 East Glacier Park, MT 59434.

  4. Tim Heffernan says:

    Tony, can you tell me how the drillers are managing the waste frac water? Are they disposing of it down deep wells, as is often the case? The reason for my question is that I am the Chief Technology Officer for EnviroSolve Technologies and we have a technology that may be the first step in cleaning the frac water (removing the oil and suspended solids. I am also on the board of another company, New Sky Energy, that has technologies under development that will be able to complete the final step in the cleanup of the frac water. We will be doing some testing and refinement over the next few months. While I would love to see the drilling and fracturing process stop, I don’t think that is viable. But I do think cleaning the water prior to disposal will at least minimize some of the negative impacts.

    • Tony says:

      From what I have observed, the fracking waste water is being pumped down hole into a “dry” hole. What’s being done to clean the water is unknown to me. Thank you for the information.


    • Robbin says:

      All frac water produced on Blackfeet is required to be disposed of off Rez. Currectly, the Blackfeet frac water is being injected down a brine water well near Choteau, MT.

      • Tony says:

        Robin, that is correct. Thank you for pointing out the location, I failed to mention that it was off-reservation. I was told that the Tribal Council would not allow the used frac waste water to be injected or evaporated on the reservation. How true this is I dont know. I do know, as Robin rightly pointed out, that an alternative location south of the reservation was found. Robin, can you tell us if the water is treated before it’s pumped down the “brine” hole? Thank you again Robbin.

        • Robbin says:

          Pretty sure the frac water is not treated before injection. The landowner will surely rue the day those chickens come home to roost.

  5. Charles M. Stone says:

    Tony, I could not get the donate button to work. It sent me to a failed pay pal site. Will send you a check. C.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Charles, I have tested the Donate button and the PayPal process and it seems to be working now. If you prefer that format go ahead and try again. We appreciate your time and support for this important project!


  6. Peter Jones says:

    Wow, thank you for making this map and taking the photos and video. This is very disturbing, and the map helps make it clear to any viewer just how pervasive it is. I will share this with my networks.

  7. Stacy says:

    My 91 year old grandmother, Ruth Plank Barrett, was born and raised on the high-line near Chester, MT. When I showed her this map all she had to say was, “This will be what happens to Montana.”

    I was once again startled by her wisdom…thank you for documenting what is happening to our state.

    • Tony says:

      Stacy, lets hope that we can continue to maintain a healthy environment for our residents and the people from around the world that come to Montana for it’s peaceful and hospitality and incredible environment! It’s encouraging to hear from the elders of our great state that they understand the value in what we have is in maintaining an intact and healthy environment. I think we can maintain some level of extraction but there are places that have more value, in the long run, both financially and aesthetically, if left open and untrammeled . . . Thanks for sharing your grandmother’s wisdom, and for all that you’ve done for this project! Tony

  8. Tony says:

    Update: There are three new drill rigs along the front. One new one went up and is now gone near the air strip, west of Browning. The second is erected and drilling up near the US Canadian boarder along the Saint Mary’s River, and the third, is south, off the reservation, west of Bynum, MT. There’s been scads of news of late. Communities are holding meetings and getting ready for the “boom.” I’m on my way to one of those meetings right now! More later.

    I’d like to send out special thank you to those that have contributed to the cause. This is an expensive project and your contributions help offset the hard costs. This project would not be possible without your help! Thank you! Tony Bynum

  9. jeff webb says:

    As a former Montanan, grew up in Great Falls unitl I was 23. I apprceiate what your doing. However, what I remember about Browning was you didn’t want to go there. You may want to show some photos of Browning to give the full presective of what happens there. I do beleive there needs to be a realationship between our energy needs and our environment. But you can’t say not in my back yard no matter how pretty it is. That plane you fly arround in can’t depend on Saudi oil if you want us out of the middle east, thats just common sense. Sometime common sense is the last thing people think about when it comes to there back yards. Evan though I left Montana to find a job I go there every year for a couple of weeks and I see the changes. I don’t like them, they say you can never go back but I do. The places I used to go fishing are on the internet now, 20 years ago I never saw a soul. Now everybody and there mother are there. We need to protect Glacier and this is a great thing your doing, but temper your prospective with a base of reality. I know in your mind thats not possible and your way may just be the best for Glacier. Lord knows our politicians could use helping hand to send them on there self promoting ways.

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for you comments Jeff. Using some oil to document the development of oil production is a wise use of a scarce resource. As you know, oil is a global commondity it is sold, no matter where it’s produced, to the highest bidder. This project is about the oil development on the Reservation and along the Rocky Mountain Front. There are plans to include a social component. Thank you for taking the time to comment and may your future trips to Montana be bright! If you are interested, Tristan Scott of the Missoulian did a story about my project, it appeared in the April 11th issue. If you are interested, you can read the full text here: Photographer Documents Oil Development on the Blackfeet Reservation.

  10. Cheryl Hovgaard-Ridesatthedoor says:

    Greetings again, Tony. As you may see from the headlines, and the town of Browning, things are once again in chaos. New council in place but issues arise. I personally have good news, I took my 80 yr old Dad, James Owens, to Browning last week. NAID days. His brother and he were born there, 1932 and 34. They were apart of the relocation, for the War, and stationed at Puget Sound Shipyards in 1941. The two brothers, had not been in Browning, there together since 1941. They had not seen each other for 25 yrs. Tears were flowing when we arrived. Myself, his only daughter, and Uncle,Gary his eldest son drove to Starr School. Remarkable memories of the land they left so long ago. Later we visited BIA, and tribal offices, obtained an overview map and Dad gift deeded his land and minerals to me.

    My biological mother and father gave me up at 4 days old, in 1968. I was adopted to an Aunt, she passed, and was legally adopted by Jim. I grew up “white” yet here in Seattle, yet always new I was Native. I attended Blackfeet Community College, and transferred to Montana Tech University, Environmental Science, Engineering. Alternative Energy, Wind was my major. I was saddened to discover the lack of zeal the Tribe has for its people. The WAPA power grid outlines the “rez”, via Canada. Needless to say, Shelby Wind Farm was developed. Red Blanket is a sacred site, but all of a sudden, interest groups protested and tribe halted oil drilling. The site at Starr School is undoubtedly ours. Other family members became jealous, and the result is what is happening now. I am shocked at the ironic turn of events. We are not wanting to damage, or create a waste field. But, technology is advanced in that all drilling would benefit all. ONLY, that family won’t allow it. They want to drive cars, listen to Ipods, and play xbox, however, not worry about the frontage of the reservation, waste and trash. Fluids from all cars, leaking on the surface. Fracking is the other buzz word. Again, thank you for your photos and reports. Like I mentioned, even if nothing ever is extracted, at least my uncle and father, got to see a map and photos. Thanks to your work. You made two old men, “hope” that someday a small dream may be achieved. Thank you.

  11. Tony Bynum says:

    Cheryle, thank you for the heart felt, warm post. I’m happy to hear that you had a good experience back on the Reservation. I hope you and others can have many more in the future. There is no question that some things are difficult in Blackfeet country. However, the truth is that while there are troubling times, it is not necessary to turn your land over to largely unregulated drilling. The speculators have one goal and that’s to drill holes, find oil, then turn the oil field over to some other company to produce it leaving behind a tapestry of poorly designed, poorly built well sites. Some drilling can be a part of the income stream for the Blackfeet, but it should be done with the utmost care for the land and water. Finally, there should be very close and careful monitoring of the all aspects of the processes in order to insure that no one is paid too little or too much! Thank you again for your comments!

  12. Shawn heavy runner says:

    Would you be able to update it sometime soon.


    • Tony says:

      not much to update . . . There are, I believe only two well sights, on the west side of the Reservation, NOT on this map. There are other’s farther east that I did not put on it, mainly because from a visual perspective they are all the same looking. This map was never meant to be used to locate all the sites. It was created to give people a sense of perspective. Again, I believe there are only two sights NOT on the western portion of the map, the area I most focused on.

      As for other areas along the rocky mountain front, I did not put any of those sights – the one’s south of the reservation – on the map.

      I can share a list of the exact locations with you. Here is a link to a spreadsheet of the exact locations and the current status of the well sights.

      Thank you for your continued interest.

      Tony Bynum

  13. I tend not to leave many comments, however I browsed a few of the
    responses on Interactive Map ~ Blackfeet Indian Reservation
    Oil Exploration -. I do have a couple of questions
    for you if it’s okay. Could it be only me or does it appear like a few of these responses come across like they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of all your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  14. Lila Brown says:

    Hi, and great job Mr. Bynum!
    I am very curious about the history of this. Exactly WHO approve these leases? Did the Tribal Council have to sign off on them? Did Interior approve these leases WITHOUT tribal approval? I have been trying to determine how this even came to be, let alone continue.

    If you have any sources for me to track down, I would be very interested.

    Thanks! (I can see you don’t have much free time!!!)

  15. Henry Talleagle says:

    If I were you, Mr. Bynum… I would keep my nose out of the Blackfeet’s business, since your biggest concern is pimping for Glacier National Park…! (and get back to Bynum)

    • Tony Bynum says:

      @henry, thank you for your concern . . . We’re all very grateful that you are not me. I’m also sure that the folks at gnp would agree with you . . . they get tired of me working them over too . . . Now go take on the day!


  16. Tony says:

    Update, as of 2016, all oil exploration in the form of drilling has ceased along the western edge of the reservation – the area near glacier national park. In some cases, the existing pads have pump jacks and oil collection hardware, in others, the pads have been reclaimed altogether. Thank you for your attention. Tony Bynum

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