Roan drilling suit talks reach impasse

A judge will be left to rule on a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s oil and gas leasing on the Roan Plateau near Rifle after a failure of negotiations to reach a settlement.

“After multiple rounds of settlement negotiations and diligent efforts by all parties, settlement negotiations are at an impasse,” federal magistrate Kristen L. Mix wrote in an order issued this week.

“Given that the issues in the case are fully briefed and ripe for resolution, the matter will be resolved in due course and in consideration of the District Judge’s overall docket,” Mix wrote in her order.

Colorado U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger is presiding over the case.

A number of conservation groups brought the suit to challenge the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s 2008 leasing of some 55,000 acres on the plateau for oil and gas development.

Four companies hold the leases. Bill Barrett Corp. controls the leases on the plateau top, which conservation groups particularly want to protect from drilling.

The leases have been deferred pending resolution of the case.



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