Take Action (AGAIN): Tell BLM Southwest Montana Is No Place For Oil & Gas Development!

The BLM is trying to sell off your public lands near the Big Hole & Beaverhead Rivers, AGAIN!

The Environmental Assessment (EA) for proposed March 2019 lease sales of public land in Southwest Montana for oil & gas development is now available for public comment.

Click here to download a copy of our map showing the lands proposed for sale come March 2019!

WHAT & WHERE:  The public lands proposed for sale this coming March 2019 are exclusively intended for oil & gas development – a type of industrial activity that has no business in critical headwaters, habitat, and open spaces of Southwest Montana.

HOW MUCH:  Of the >10,000 acres up for lease previously in summer 2018, the vast majority are carried forward (they were deferred by BLM for one, three-month lease cycle Fall 2018) to this March 2019 lease sale. Specifically, 9824.09 acres are now offered for lease come March 2019  – 5,825.04 of that is on BLM ground and 3,999.05 acres of that is federal mineral rights under private lands.

KEY CONFLICTS:  For unknown reasons many of the parcels once again proposed for oil & gas leasing are adjacent some of our state’s best wild fisheries and headwater streams!

  • Parcels located just a few miles NW of Dillon are adjacent to Rattlesnake Creek, which is part of the City of Dillon’s water supply.
    • These same parcels back up to National Forest lands on the Pioneer Mountains and would threaten game and wildlife corridors.
  • Parcels near Glenn, Montana would threaten noise, light, and sound pollution, not to mention the risk of wastewater or toxic substances and spills near headwaters of the Big Hole River, home of the last native population of fluvial Arctic Grayling.
  • Parcels to the East of Dillon back up to the Ruby Mountains Wilderness Study Area, key game and wildlife habitat, and would threaten the area’s untrammeled, wild and scenic nature.


Please take a moment and SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO BLM asking the agency to protect Montana’s headwaters, vital open spaces, and game and wildlife habitat by withdrawing all Beaverhead and Madison County parcels from the March 2019 sale.

Public comments must be received by December 21, 2019.

*When you click the hyperlink above it takes you to BLM’s confusing website with lots of documents for the December 2019 MT lease sale; scroll to the bottom right of the page and click on the embedded button “comment on document.” A new page will open where you must provide your name, details, and make comments.

**The BLM comment portal will ask for the specific section and block number of parcels on which you are commenting, yet it’s extremely difficult to identify the exact parcels in question with the BLM website!  Instead of trying to ID every single one of the dozen + parcels we suggest you write, in your narrative section of the BLM comment block, that you “oppose all sales of parcels in Beaverhead and Madison counties within the Dillon Field Office’s jurisdiction and request BLM withdraw these parcels from the March 2019 sale for the reasons noted herein.”  Be sure and explain why you feel these places are not suited for oil and gas development, see below for tips!

Comment writing tips:

  • Don’t miss the deadline… get your comments in on-time
  • Write in your own words.  Quoted letters aren’t counted as individual comments, and neither do sign-on letters.
  • Make your comments relevant.  How does the proposed sale of public lands in the Beaverhead and Big Hole for oil & gas development affect you and what you care about?
  • Do you camp/hunt/fish/bike/bird watch/visit these areas?
  • Be concise, be respectful, and use proper grammar.
  • Close your comments by asking BLM to withdraw parcels in Beaverhead & Madison Counties from the March 2019 Montana lease sale.

Want more background, or confused about what’s going on?

Click here to read BLM’s draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed March 2019 sale of public lands for oil & gas development. You may need an adult libation or three… the slim, abbreviated discussion of impacts to rivers and fish in this report start around page 39.

Do you love Montana’s open spaces and fishable, swimmable, drinkable water?  

Help fund our critical work protecting the things you love in Montana!

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper is the only conservation organization bird-dogging proposals that would harm our waterways, communities, and businesses throughout the entire 25,000 sq. miles of Montana’s Upper Missouri River Basin.  We don’t take corporate money and we aren’t government funded, meaning its people like you who donate to help us protect special places and improve state rules that will provide critical defense in the future.

Help us protect fishable, swimmable, drinkable water, please consider a donation today!

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