BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Louisiana company is challenging the cancellation of an oil and gas lease in northwest Montana by federal officials who say drilling would disturb an area sacred to the Blackfoot tribes of the U.S. and Canada.

The 6,200-acre lease owned by Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge is located just outside Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Attorneys for the company on Friday asked U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C. to reject the Interior Department's March 17 lease cancellation.

Leon has been sympathetic to Solenex's arguments in prior court hearings, lambasting officials for decades of bureaucratic delays.

Government attorneys say the Solenex lease was improperly sold in 1982, in part because environmental studies did not consider the effects of drilling on the tribes.

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