Idaho: Federal judge erred scrapping forced oil leases - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Idaho: Federal judge erred scrapping forced oil leases

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By KEITH RIDLER
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho officials say a U.S. District Court judge made a legal error and should reverse his ruling that Idaho violated the U.S. Constitution by forcing several landowners to sell their natural gas and oil to a Texas company.

The Idaho attorney general's office in documents filed Monday says Chief U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill "was clearly erroneous" in a ruling last month that could have significant ramifications for Idaho's oil and gas industry.

Winmill ruled the state didn't give several Idaho landowners a meaningful way to fight the state's decision finalizing a deal with Houston-based Alta Mesa and ordered Idaho to vacate the decision.

Idaho is asking Winmill to eliminate that order and rule that Idaho acted legally within the confines of the Constitution.

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