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Judge Dismisses Thompson Divide Lawsuit; Lease Cancellations Stand

Sep 10, 2018

Thompson Divide, seen from a flyover with EcoFlight.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

A decade-long battle over oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale has ended.

 

After an environmental review in 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) cancelled 18 oil and gas leases owned by the company SG Interests. The company then filed a lawsuit, which was dismissed by a federal judge in Denver last week.

It comes after a settlement in June in which the BLM agreed to pay SG $1.5 million.

Peter Hart is staff attorney for Carbondale-based environmental group Wilderness Workshop; he said while there are still some development threats in Thompson Divide, this is major victory for the groups who worked to protect the area.

“These leases are the ones that were closest to Carbondale, and now the BLM’s decision is final and these 18 oil and gas leases are officially gone,” Hart said.

Thompson Divide is in the White River National Forest and is used for agriculture and recreation. It also provides high quality wildlife habitat.