BISMARCK (AP) - Oil lease sales on some environmentally sensitive land in southwestern North Dakota are being delayed.
The state Department of Trust Lands is holding an auction Feb. 7 to sell the rights to explore for oil on some state lands.
North Dakota's Game and Fish Department and the North Dakota chapter of the Wildlife Society wanted some land taken off the list.
They say some of the land could be designated as wilderness. Other properties are habitat for bighorn sheep, sage grouse and mule deer.
North Dakota's land board voted Thursday to delay selling oil leases for the land. Thirteen tracts in Billings and Golden Valley counties are affected.
Proceeds from oil production on state lands go into a trust fund that benefits North Dakota's schools.