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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.

Judge Dismisses Thompson Divide Lawsuit; Lease Cancellations Stand

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.


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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