“We’re pleased that the Trump administration recognized the wrongful cancellation of the leases and compensated us for it,” said Robbie Guinn, a SG Interests vice president. “I think that this is not going to be the practice of the Trump administration. I don’t believe they’re going to be canceling any leases.”

Standard Examiner

BLM agrees to pay energy company $1.5M for canceled leases

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has agreed to pay SG Interests $1.5 million after the energy company sued over the cancellation of 18 oil and gas leases covering more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) in the Thompson Divide area in western Colorado.

The undeveloped leases in the vast White River National Forest were among 25 covering more than 50 square miles (129 square kilometers) that the BLM canceled in late 2016 at the request of a coalition of governments, environmentalists, ranchers and others, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Friday. Agency officials said they were reversing what they called faulty environmental reviews that were issued between 1995 and 2012.

At the time, the agency said it would pay SG Interests and Ursa Resources, which held the other seven leases, about $1 million for what was paid for acquiring the leases at auction and for rental fees on the leases.

In SG Interests’ case, that amounted to about $468,000. The company argued it had invested far more in working toward eventual development of the leases, claiming the cancellations were a breach of contract.

“We’re pleased that the Trump administration recognized the wrongful cancellation of the leases and compensated us for it,” said Robbie Guinn, a SG Interests vice president. “I think that this is not going to be the practice of the Trump administration. I don’t believe they’re going to be canceling any leases.”

He said the $1.5 million covered the majority of the additional permitting, surveying and other costs the company had incurred trying to develop the leases.

Mike Freeman, an attorney with the conservation group Earthjustice, also said he was happy with the settlement.

“We’re pleased that the important wildlife habitat, pristine roadless lands and public water supplies in the Thompson Divide will be protected for future generations,” he said.

SG Interests still owns the lease rights to develop deep formations under about 14 square miles (36 square kilometers) of the Thompson Divide that are known as the Wolf Creek area and were not part of the BLM lease review.

Related news:

Questions surround Colorado River District hiring enviro lobbyist as comms director

Small Colorado energy firm battles feds over retroactive lease cancellations

EDITORIAL: Obama cancellation of Colorado leases a ‘mockery’ of property rights


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