US asks judge to uphold cancellation of Montana energy lease

By Matthew Brown, Associated Press

 

The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to uphold its decision to block oil and gas drilling on land considered sacred to some tribes in the U.S. and Canada.

 

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to uphold its decision to block oil and gas drilling on land considered sacred to some tribes in the U.S. and Canada.

Attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department on Monday urged U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the administration's decision.

The March cancellation of a 6,200-acre energy lease near Glacier National Park has been assailed by the oil and gas industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Business groups say the administration's move set a precedent that will discourage development if not overturned. A Louisiana company held the lease for 33 years but had yet to drill.

The lease is in northwestern Montana's Badger-Two Medicine area, location of the creation story for the Blackfoot tribes in Montana and Alberta.

 

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