Federal land managers are moving toward a preferred alternative that would appease conservationists by fully canceling 25 undeveloped oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide.

At the same time, leases that are considered “held by production” would be allowed to continue under the 1993 rules through which they were issued.

Other previously issued leases would be modified to follow new Forest Service stipulations that were finalized in 2015.

The new preliminary preferred alternative in the Bureau of Land Management’s review of 65 previously issued leases on the White River National Forest is a blend of two alternatives contained in the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) released last fall, BLM spokesman David Boyd said.

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