A newly proposed measure by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet would increase the amount of compensation that two companies receive for recently canceled leases in the Thompson Divide area southwest of Glenwood Springs.

The measure is aimed at permanently protecting the area and avoiding a legal battle over it. But an official with one of the companies, SG Interests, says he doubts it will get through Congress, and he also revealed that SG already has sued over the canceled leases.

Bennet, D-Colo., announced the introduction of the latest version of his Thompson Divide legislation Wednesday. His office said in a news release that it would “protect more than 172,000 acres in the Thompson Divide and adjacent areas from the possibility of future leasing, while providing compensation for Thompson Divide leaseholders.”

Bennet said in the release, “This middle ground approach protects the land — and the local economies tied to it — from future energy development, while also ensuring that former leaseholders receive fair compensation to reinvest in other areas of Colorado.”

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