Companies give up oil, gas leases along Rocky Mountain Front

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Five exploration companies have agreed to relinquish eight federal oil and natural gas leases on 29,000 acres along the Rocky Mountain Front, the largest withdrawal since federal legislation was passed in 2006 to protect the area from mineral development.

…Most of the 29,000 acres, which are located in the Lewis and Clark and Flathead national forests, fall within the 130,000-acre Badger-Two Medicine, an area considered sacred by the tribe, Tatsey said.

…To date, about 80,000 acres have been willingly relinquished by leaseholders under the legislation, said Don Judice of the BLM's Great Falls Oil & Gas Field Station, which manages subsurface resources.