- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

DENVER (AP) - Federal land managers have taken another step toward protecting most of western Colorado’s wild Roan Plateau from natural gas drilling, releasing a revised plan that puts many areas off-limits.

The Bureau of Land Management said Tuesday the plan puts in place the provisions of a 2014 compromise among conservation groups and natural gas producer Bill Barrett Corp.

The public has until Aug. 1 to comment.

Barrett gave up its right to drill on about 56 square miles it had leased from the federal government atop the plateau and will be refunded $47.6 million it paid for the leases. Another seven square miles that Barrett leased will be freed up from a 6-year-old lawsuit.

Conservation groups say about 90 percent of the land atop the plateau will be off-limits to drilling.

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