BLM to pause oil, gas leasing on 2.2 million acres in Colorado




  • In US
  • 2022-08-13 11:13:22Z
  • By Reuters

By Clark Mindock

(Reuters) - The Bureau of Land Management will pause oil and gas leasing on 2.2 million acres of Colorado public land after environmental groups alleged its current management plan failed to consider climate impacts, according to a settlement.

The agreement was filed Thursday in Colorado federal court and requires the government to conduct a new environmental analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public lands in southwestern Colorado. The government also agreed to consider how the leases may impact the endangered Gunnison sage-grouse and its habitat.

The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and others said in an August 2020 lawsuit that BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the government to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of its leasing decisions, when it approved the current 20-year plan.

The groups said the decision to allow leasing on these public lands would aggravate the climate crisis and that it would be "impossible" to address that impact without "completely transforming the way public lands are managed for fossil fuel exploitation."

The groups also said the government failed to adequately consider the impacts leasing would have on the survival and recovery of the threatened Gunnison sage-grouse.

The settlement pauses all new leasing in the area known as the North Fork Valley. The green groups, represented by Melissa Hornbein of the Western Environmental Law Center, say the plan puts the local culture revolving around family farms, wineries, recreational opportunities and wildlife at risk.

"It's absolutely crazy for the BLM to be considering a management plan that opens up 95% of the available mineral estate in the area ... without really confronting the issue of where we are in the climate crisis," Hornbein told Reuters.

A spokesperson for BLM declined to comment.

The Gunnison sage-grouse is a large bird with a chubby body, small head and a long tail. It's one of at least two threatened birds that have sparked past litigation in the American West over oil and gas development. Earlier cases in which conservation groups have charged that leasing puts the birds at risk have led to notable legal victories for conservation groups, including halts to mining and drilling in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The case is Citizens for a Healthy Community et al. v. United States Bureau of Land Management et al., U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, No. 1:20-cv-02484.

For the environmental groups: Edward Breckenridge Zukoski of the Center for Biological Diversity and Kyle Tisdel and Melissa Hornbein of the Western Environmental Law Center

For BLM: Luther Hajek and Rickey Turner of the U.S. Department of Justice

COMMENTS

More Related News

Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols
Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols
  • US
  • 2022-11-26 20:47:32Z

Environmental groups are once again at odds with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of a decision by high-end retail giant Whole Foods to...

Report: Colorado offers Deion Sanders coaching job
Report: Colorado offers Deion Sanders coaching job

Colorado has a football coaching vacancy and could be looking at Deion Sanders, the current coach at Jackson State, to fill the position.

Report: Colorado has offered Deion Sanders its head-coaching job
Report: Colorado has offered Deion Sanders its head-coaching job

Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders may be ready to take a step to a bigger college coaching job. Sanders, who is currently the head coach at Jackson State, has been offered the head-coaching job at Colorado and has interest in the job, according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports. Sanders' track record at [more]

'Am I safe being in public?' For many, mass shootings make a sense of danger inescapable

After a pandemic lull, mass shootings have risen dramatically. That takes a toll on survivors, and others too.

Will the Colorado gay club shooting be prosecuted as a hate crime?
Will the Colorado gay club shooting be prosecuted as a hate crime?
  • US
  • 2022-11-25 11:00:04Z

LGBTQ Coloradans have no doubt of the motive for the deadly attack, but bias-crime legislation in the state is complicated

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US