Federal government cancels 25 oil and gas leases in Colorado's Thompson Divide

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on the Interior Department's decision on drilling in the Thompson Divide (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she believes a decision to limit oil and gas wells on pristine federal land in Colorado will hold up under the administration of president-elect Donald Trump.

Speaking in Denver Thursday, Jewell said Trump's transition team hasn't contacted the Interior Department since the Nov. 8 election.

Jewell says she doesn't know what the new administration's policy will be on managing public lands — a contentious issue in the West that has boiled over into armed conflict in Nevada and Oregon.

Jewell was in Denver to announce that the government had canceled 25 leases to drill for oil and gas in the scenic Thompson Divide of western Colorado, popular among anglers, hikers and others.

The energy industry objects to the move, saying the government reneged on valid contracts.

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11:55 a.m.

The federal government is canceling 25 leases in western Colorado's Thompson Divide.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made the announcement Thursday at the state Capitol in Denver, backing a recommendation made by the Bureau of Land Management in July regarding the land southwest of Aspen.

Whether or not to allow drilling there has the subject of aggressive lobbying by groups and municipalities that depend on the outdoor recreation industry.

Jewell also announced the final adoption of the terms of a settlement regarding drilling on the Roan Plateau near Rifle that was announced two years ago.

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8:40 a.m.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is visiting Colorado to make an announcement about the future of oil and gas drilling in the Thompson Divide.

Jewell and the director of the Bureau of Land Management, Neil Kornze, are scheduled to join Gov. John Hickenlooper at the state Capitol Thursday morning to release her decision concerning the land southwest of Aspen in the White River National Forest.

Whether or not to allow drilling there has the subject of aggressive lobbying by groups and municipalities that depend on the outdoor recreation industry. In July, the BLM recommended canceling 25 leases there that haven't been developed yet.

Under the proposal, leases in the forest that are developed but not currently producing oil and gas would get new stipulations and leases that are already producing wouldn't see any changes.

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