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Louisiana company pressing for permission to drill for oil and gas on Front

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A Louisiana company is petitioning a federal judge to accelerate his review of a case questioning the firm's ability to drill for oil and gas along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Solenex, LLC has been fighting to get permission to pursue possible oil and gas development on more than 6,200 acres of land in the Badger-Two Medicine country adjacent to the Blackfeet Reservation and Glacier National Park. 

The leases were originally granted by the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1980s, but have been suspended for many years by the federal government.

Solenex filed suit in June 2013, but the case remains in limbo. The opposition has been driven by conservation groups, and by the Blackfeet Tribe, which considers the Badger-Two Medicine to be sacred lands deserving permanent protection.

The company has now filed a new motion in U.S. District Court, asking Judge Richard Leon to open the way for the parties to give oral arguments and "expedited consideration" to the case.

The company says it wants permission to drill a "single exploratory well to test and evaluate the oil and natural gas potential of an extremely promising geological structure." 

Solenex's attorneys argue the application for permit to drill has been approved four times before, but says the defendants in the case, including the Department of the Interior, continue to delay the case.

Attorneys want the judge to rule now, since the window for doing the exploratory well is only available between July 1 and Nov. 30.

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