Judge says government must act on gas lease on sacred land

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2016 6:21 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge is accusing the Obama administration of trying to "run the clock out" on an oil and gas lease near Glacier National Park that's been held up for decades.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Wednesday gave the Interior Department 24 hours to act on the matter.

The 6,200-acre lease is in Montana's Badger-Two Medicine area, considered sacred by the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.

Lease owner Solenex LLC of Louisiana wants to drill for gas on the site and says the 1982 lease remains valid.

The Interior Department said in November it intends to cancel the lease, but it has yet to follow through.

Leon accused a Justice Department attorney of acting "silly" when she suggested the latest delay was out of deference to the court.

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