BILLINGS — Federal officials have postponed an upcoming sale of some oil and gas leases in south-central Montana after concerns were raised about drilling in an area heavily dependent on tourism.
The Bureau of Land Management announced Monday that it was deferring next week’s scheduled sale of leases totaling about 27 square miles (70 square kilometers) pending further study.
The decision affects all or portions of 28 parcels near Livingston and in the foothills of the Absaroka and Beartooth mountain ranges. The sale was scheduled for March 13.
Environmental groups and residents of the area had said they were worried about potential negative effects of drilling on the nearby Yellowstone River.
Lease sales still are planned for 83 parcels elsewhere in the state through an online auction.
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