BILLINGS, Mont. — A Wyoming company has purchased federal leases that would allow it to explore for oil and gas beneath the site of a Montana coal mine.

The Billings Gazette reported Wednesday that Hoover & Stacy Inc. of Cheyenne paid $23,000 in December for leases totaling 909 acres beneath the boundaries of the Spring Creek Mine near Decker.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Al Nash says the company would need to obtain a permit before it could proceed with exploration work. He says mining and drilling wouldn’t conflict because technological advances allow drilling from locations that are not directly above a lease.

Mine owner Cloud Peak Energy objected to the lease sale after a public comment period already had closed.

Purchasing a lease does not obligate a company to conduct drilling.


Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com