Lawsuit over environmental studies and permitting continues
A spiderweb of drill pads lace the countryside around the Roan Plateau. PHOTO COURTESY SKYTRUTH.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The BLM said this week that it’s moving for a voluntary remand of three oil and gas drilling projects in Garfield County in order to study potential air pollution impacts.
According to a press release from Earthjustice, the BLM says it will not approve additional drilling permits implementing the projects until it completes its additional analysis, but environmental groups claim the agency has been using invalid studies to permit new wells on a regular basis.
According to Earthjustice, the BLM permitting has been a sort of regulatory shell game, with the agency using a study that doesn’t cover all of the geographic area for which it’s issuing permits. The voluntary remand covers the authorization nearly 400 oil and gas wells.
The permitting has been challenged in federal court by conservation groups represented by the public interest law firm Earthjustice. The groups — Wilderness Workshop, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, and the Sierra Club — allege that the BLM violated federal environmental laws by approving oil and gas projects without conducting any environmental analysis of the air pollution they would cause.
Earthjustice attorney Alison Flint said the BLM’s decision doesn’t address the much larger problem targeted by the legal challenge. The three projects represent only a few examples of a broader practice in which BLM has approved at least 33 drilling projects – involving thousands of wells –with no air pollution analysis. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: air quality, Bureau of Land management, Colorado, Earthjustice, Environment, gas drilling, National Environmental Policy Act, Roan Plateau, Sierra Club | Leave a comment »