Enviros Challenging Oil And Gas Company's Land Acquisition

A coalition of environmental groups is appealing an oil and gas company's leases on federal land in Western Colorado. The organizations say Encana Corporation is over the limit for the number of acres it can legally lease from the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado.

They have filed a challenge with the Department of the Interior's Board of Land Appeals. According to the executive director of the Aspen Wilderness Workshop, Encana exceeded the leasing limits for the state when it acquired Tom Brown Inc., another energy company. a B.L.M. spokeswoman says Encana has not gone over its 246,000 acre limit for public domain lands.

Despite the merger, she adds, a judge will still consider the appeal. Several wilderness groups are hoping their challenge could invalidate the most recently acquired leases. That would prevent oil and gas development in the Thompson Creek Roadless Area in Pitkin County, among other areas.

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