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CBM Leasing Allowed

A federal magistrate in October 2002 recommended against a preliminary injunction stopping federal leasing of lands for coal-bed methane drilling in eastern Montana while a court case is pending.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. Magistrate Richard Anderson also recommended denial of motions to dismiss the case by the government and developers.

The Northern Plains Resource Council filed suit in February 2001 to stop coal-bed methane leasing and drilling on the Bureau of Land Management’s Billings and Powder River regions.

The suit contends the BLM violated federal law by leasing mineral rights without allowing surface owners a chance to participate in the decision.

The judge said Northern Plains failed to point to any surface disturbing activity occurring on their lands at this time.  He said their concerns are theoretical at this stage.