A recent U.S. Bureau of Land Management decision regarding 65 previously issued oil and gas leases on the White River National Forest, including the cancellation of 25 leases in the Thompson Divide area, is almost certain to end up in federal court.

What form that will take over what claims, and which entities decide to seek legal remedies, is a matter for lawyers working on both sides of the ongoing dispute to determine.

The formal Record of Decision issued Nov. 17 in Denver and signed by state BLM Director Ruth Welch and Interior Department Deputy Secretary Michael Connor stipulates that any challenges must come in federal district court, rather than by administrative appeal.

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