The USFS and BLM have received an application to put in an exploratory oil & gas drill rig in far upper reaches of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National National Forest.
Called the Tendoy Project, the proposed oil & gas rig is on White Pine Ridge, a prominent land feature overlooking the upper reaches of the Red Rock River. The ridge is bounded by Sheep Cr, Muddy Cr., and other small tributaries in a pretty remote landscape. Because the proposed project is on federal public lands, the agencies’ provided notice of the proposal to the public this January 2016, kicking off a process called “public scoping.” The idea is to put out basic information on the proposal, gather feedback and, based on that feedback, the proposed action, and research, take a hard look at the project and its impacts.
The Tendoy Project raised a red flag because it is an oil and gas exploration project. Montana’s long-history of natural resource development is, unfortunately, not the cleanest. Oil & gas development has scarred landscapes, left lingering pollution concerns, and often shouldered tax-payers with expensive clean-up across the nation, much less in Montana.
Oil & gas exploration normally means someone thinks there may be something buried deep, so they dig an initial well to figure out if its worth going forward with a bigger plan of development. Because small, initial projects can be the tip of the iceberg for larger plans of development, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper watch-dogs these type of initial applications and stays abreast to ensure our government takes a hard look at project impacts and requires necessary mitigation that protects local land resources and waterways.
Click here to read our comment letter to the BLM and USFS concerning the proposed Tendoy Oil & Gas exploration project. The letter lays out several potential impacts that the agencies need to consider before moving forward with the project.