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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

BLM Reaches Settlement In Thompson Divide Case

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The federal government has reached a settlement in an ongoing legal battle over drilling in the Thompson Divide area of the White River National Forest.



In 2016, the Bureau of Land Management canceled 18 oil and gas leases that were owned by the company SG Interests. Those leases were among 60 total that were issued during the Bush Administration and later came under review during the Obama Administration. That environmental review resulted in the cancelation of 25 of the leases.

Shortly after that decision, SG Interests announced it would sue the federal government; in the settlement announced Friday, the BLM agreed to pay SG $1.5 million, and the company will drop the legal challenge.

The settlement was praised by the Thompson Divide Coalition and Wilderness Workshop for bringing closure and protecting thousands of acres from new oil and gas development. 

Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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