Forest Service Settles Lawsuit, Withdraws OK For Some Western Slope Gas Wells

Bayfield (AP) The Forest Service has agreed to withdraw
approval for two coal-bed methane wells in the H-D Mountains near Bayfield, which could be the next hotbed of natural gas drilling in Colorado.

In May, the Durango-based San Juan Citizens Alliance and landowners Bill Vance and his sister, Julie Vance, filed a lawsuit saying the forest service didn't do any environmental analysis before approving the wells.

Forest officials said they originally believed an analysis
wasn't necessary because while the surface is federal land, the minerals are privately owned.

Yesterday, San Juan National Forest Supervisor Mark Stiles said an environmental analysis, "is the best way to proceed."

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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