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Nation IN BRIEF : MONTANA

Rockies Area Barred to Oil, Gas Leasing

September 24, 1997|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The U.S. Forest Service placed Montana's Rocky Mountain Front off-limits to future oil and gas leasing, settling a bitter two-decade fight between energy interests and environmentalists over the 100-mile-long intersection of plains and mountains. The front, which extends from north of Helena to the southern tip of Glacier National Park, is home to threatened grizzly bears and big herds of elk, bighorn sheep and other mammals. Environmentalists hailed the decision, but oil and gas industry officials accused the Forest Service of capitulating to public pressure and turning its back on developing domestic sources of natural gas.

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