Zinke Bows To Local Opposition And Delays Oil And Gas Leasing Near Yellowstone

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Monday he would postpone an oil and gas lease sale in Montana after locals protested.

Officials at every level of government from local to national contacted the Department of the Interior (DOI) to protest the lease sale, DOI Spokeswoman Heather Swift told The Washington Examiner.

The sale, scheduled to take place March 13, included parcels spread throughout Montana, including several close to Yellowstone National Park. 60,000 acres were to be auctioned off, but the Bureau of Land Management removed about 17,000 acres from consideration.

The postponement follows a similar act in New Mexico Friday. Zinke delayed a lease sale for parcels near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Tribal officials and environmentalists claimed development would harm the sacred tribal sight and its artifacts, according to The Washington Post.

“I’ve always said there are places where it is appropriate to develop and where it’s not. This area certainly deserves more study,” Zinke said after the decision.

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