Bureau of Land Management lifts suspensions on 45 oil, gas leases in Montana

Source: The US Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management has lifted suspensions on 45 Montana oil and gas leases. Suspensions will be maintained on six leases, and two leases will contain areas where suspensions are lifted along with areas remaining in suspension. 

The 53 leases are among 61 issued in 2008 and suspended in March 2010 as a result of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit involving parcels that BLM offered in Montana during four 2008 sales. Eight of the original 61 leases have terminated. 

Leases are normally issued for a 10-year term, but suspensions are essentially a “time out” in the process. In this case, the suspensions were imposed while the BLM completed eight environmental assessments to review its leasing decisions for the affected Montana leases and other previously nominated parcels. Initially, 61 leases were affected by the settlement agreement. Four of the leases terminated earlier this year and were not included in the assessments, and another four leases terminated while the assessments were conducted. In general, additional protective stipulations will be applied to the reactivated leases. 

The lifted suspensions affect 25,329 acres while 6,667 acres will remain in suspension. The leases where suspensions are being maintained primarily involve sage grouse and Yellowstone cutthroat trout issues that will be analyzed in resource management plans currently being written. When those plans are completed, the suspensions will be re-examined.

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