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Judge blocks drilling on federal lands in Wyoming, demands future oil and gas leases consider climate change

Posted at 4:03 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 23:09:40-04

A federal judge has blocked drilling on over 300,000 acres of land in Wyoming, ruling the Bureau of Land Management failed to consider the impact of climate change.

District of Columbia Judge Rudolph Contreras issued the ruling late Tuesday.

The case was filed in 2016 against the Department of Interior by two conservation groups. The lawsuit alleged the BLM failed to take into account the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate by oil and gas development on federal land.

“Having reviewed the record and the relevant law, the Court concludes that—withholding judgment on whether BLM’s leasing decisions were correct—BLM did not sufficiently consider climate change when making those decisions,” Contreras wrote in the order.

He added: “BLM summarized the potential on-the-ground impacts of climate change in the state, the region, and across the country. It failed, however, to provide the information necessary for the public and agency decisionmakers to understand the degree to which the leasing decisions at issue would contribute to those impacts. In short, BLM did not adequately quantify the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing”.

The judge ordered the BLM to initiate further environmental review on the parcels but he did not cancel the leases.

Reporting by Jon Stepanek for MTN News