Owner of oil and gas lease near Glacier National Park urges judge to act

MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press

Owner of oil and gas lease near Glacier National Park urges judge to act

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Louisiana company is asking a judge to resolve its lawsuit challenging the government's suspension of an oil and gas lease near Montana's Glacier National Park so the company can begin drilling this summer.

The 6,200-acre lease is on land sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.

It was suspended by the U.S. Interior Department in the 1990s along with dozens of other leases in the area.

Owner Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge requested in a recent court filing that U.S. District Judge Richard Leon expedite the company's lawsuit.

Attorney Steven Lechner said if drilling doesn't commence by August, Solenex must wait another year to begin the work because of restrictions on when it can drill.

Blackfoot leaders want Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to cancel the lease.

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