The Montana Petroleum Association said it was not surprised by the cancellation of 15 leases held by Devon Corp. in the northwest Montana area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. "The leases are just another casualty of the Obama administration's politicized energy agenda," said Alan Olson, executive director of the MPA. The leases were issued in the 1980s in the Badger-Two Medicine area and have not been drilled. Devon will receive about $200,000 as a refund of all the rents and bonus bids it paid. Environmental groups and tribes have placed pressure on federal agencies to block legally permitted oil and gas projects, according to Olson. "The decision by the BLM sends a resounding message to those hoping for certainty in the permitting process and for just execution of the law," Olson said. (From the Oil Patch Hotline, Jan. 19, 2017)

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