CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service will not allow oil and gas leasing on nearly 40,000 acres in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

The Forest Service on Friday released a draft decision that bans oil in gas leases in the forest. The decision is not final. Forest Service officials say the ultimate determination will be made in October.

The public will have 45 days to comment on the draft decision.

Friday's announcement marks a victory for environmentalists who have long opposed drilling in the Wyoming Range.

Oil and gas leases in the forest were first offered for sale in 2005. Criticism eventually led Congress to ban drilling on 1.2 million acres of federal land in the area in 2009 but leaving about 40,000 acres open to development.