BILLINGS, Mont. — Conservation groups in the U.S. and Canada are urging Canadian regulators to ban mining and drilling on federal land in a border region known as the Flathead Basin.
Provincial officials in British Columbia passed a law last year banning such activities on more than 400,000 acres in the Flathead River valley north of Montana’s Glacier National Park.
The move appeared to end decades of proposals for gas drilling, gold exploration and coal mining.
But the conservation groups now say the ban left out 15,500 acres of federal land in Canada that has the potential for coal-bed methane drilling.
A Natural Resources Canada spokesman said Tuesday no exploration activity is underway on the federal land. Agency spokesman Paul Duchesne says any future decisions would recognize the importance of the basin’s environment.