CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A federal board has sided with coal giant Peabody Energy in the battle with an oil and gas company over who gets to develop fossil fuels beneath a contested patch of Wyoming prairie.

The Interior Board of Land Appeals last Friday rejected Berenergy Inc.'s attempt to prohibit Peabody from continuing to plug Berenergy's wells while the dispute continues through appeals, either in court or before the Interior board.

In justifying its decision, the board noted that Berenergy still maintains rights to develop and that Peabody must pay Berenergy $477,000 for the recoverable oil and put aside $13 million for Berenergy to start production again post coal production.

The oil company can still press its case with Interior or continue to challenge the matter in court.

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