Oil worker lay pipe into an oil well in Talpa, Texas, Friday, May 23, 2008. Many experienced oilfield workers left the industry in the mid-1980s during the oil bust, when a barrel sold for less than $10. Now, with prices over $100 a barrel, many drilling companies are hiring workers with little or no experience. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Denver (AP) - Environmental groups suing over plans to drill on western Colorado's Roan Plateau have asked that a court hearing be scheduled in case settlement talks fail.
Ten groups are challenging the federal government's plan for energy development on the plateau's public land and the leases issued last year. Both sides agreed that no drilling would start until July.
Attorney Jim Angell of Earthjustice said Monday he hopes a settlement can be reached and a trial avoided. But attorneys representing the environmentalists want to make sure there's time to schedule arguments if negotiations fail.
The Roan Plateau is prized for its oil and gas as well as wildlife and pristine backcountry.
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