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Environmental Groups Sue BLM to Prevent Federal Land Fracking

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The federal Bureau of Land Management has been sued by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club in an effort to prevent hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on more than 2,500 acres of federal lands until a thorough environmental impact study has been done.

The fracking leases on land located in Monterey and Fresno counties were auctioned to oil company representatives in October for $257,051. Companies that purchased the land leases include Vinton Exploration, LoneTree Energy & Associates, and Vintage Production California LLC, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that the auction violated the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the federal agency to do a thorough analysis of the impact fracking would have on the environment. The land in question contains watersheds for Monterey County, and habitat for endangered and threatened species.  Senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity and director of its Climate Law Institute, Kassie Siegel said the agency “didn’t do any real analysis of what fracking would mean out there,” in the local water supply or to endangered species. “They cite some misleading, older information which says, well, fracking’s no problem.”

The land sits above a geologic formation called Monterey Shale and is estimated to hold nearly 100 million barrels of oil, the reported. BLM spokesperson Erin Curtis said that before any company begins to drill, “for each well, they have to submit an application for a permit to drill, and at that stage, we conduct an environmental assessment for each permit to drill.”

The leases give the companies 10 years to develop the land before it reverts back to the federal government. If the land is developed, the state and taxpayers will receive royalties from the natural resources extracted. disclaimer: This article: Environmental Groups Sue BLM to Prevent Federal Land Fracking was posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 at 8:20 pm at and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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