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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Oil Firm Demands Leases in National Forest

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CN) - An oil company sued the Bureau of Land Management because the Obama administration canceled seven oil-drilling leases it bought in Bridger-Teton National Forest for about $117,000 apiece under the Bush administration.

President George W. Bush offered up nearly 45,000 acres for oil and gas drilling in Bridger-Teton National Forest in 2005 and 2006. Stanley Energy says it made the high bid of almost $823,000 for seven parcels there.

The Department of Interior rejected the bid in August 2009, writing that objections to drilling on the parcels were likely to succeed on environmental grounds, and that Congress had withdrawn the leases as inappropriate.

Stanley Energy claims the orders were "incorrectly applied" and wants to drill, despite the BLM's promise to refund its money.

Represented by Andrew Emrich and Hadassah Reimber with Holland & Hart, Stanley seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

Much of the 3.4 million-acre Bridger-Teton National Forest is in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Toward the south, it encompasses the Wyoming Range, where the parcels in question are. The Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which President Obama signed into law last year, withdrew oil and gas leasing in the Wyoming Range.

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