The Thompson Divide Coalition says it can raise as much as $50 million to buy leases in an effort to protect the region's tourism and agricultural economies.
According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/c8xu4f8 ), Encana and SG Interests have declined the offer.
The Thompson Divide includes federal land from Carbondale to McClure Pass crossing Pitkin, Gunnison, Garfield, Mesa and Delta counties.
Lawmakers are working on legislation to prevent future mineral leasing in the area and offer companies reimbursement if they trade in existing leases.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)