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Coalition Files Lawsuit Against BLM, Forest Service, and EPA Over Fracking Impacts in Santa Fe NF

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  • Groups say the BLM and Forest Service failed to analyze the “serious environmental consequences” from fracking, and have called for tighter EPA regulations on drilling companies

A coalition of environmental groups has filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service over the issuance of 13 oil and gas lease parcels covering 20,000 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. In the complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the groups – which include Diné CARE and the San Juan Citizens Alliance – say the decision would allow oil and gas development in previously undeveloped areas of the national forest “characterized by steep forested slopes, remote wilderness, and vital wildlife habitat”. They say the agencies failed to analyze the “serious environmental consequences” and also failed to consider the greater environmental damage caused by horizontal drilling and fracking, techniques that will likely be used to develop the leases.

And in another lawsuit, several community and environmental organizations are demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stop oil and gas companies from handling drilling and fracking wastes in ways the groups say threaten public health and the environment. The organizations, which include the San Juan Citizens Alliance, want the agency to address such issues as the disposal of fracking wastewater in underground injection wells, which have been linked to earthquakes in states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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