Fracking on Public Lands: EIS May Be Required

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has agreed to settle litigation in California by preparing environmental impact statements (EISs) for two disputed oil and gas well leases in the Monterey Shale formation.  The agreement includes suspension of operations and production on the leased sites pending preparation of the EISs, with the right of the plaintiff environmental groups to return to court to litigate the sufficiency of the EISs, or challenge a decision to move forward with the fracking leases after completion of the EISs.  The settlement is of two related lawsuits, both styled Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club v. BLM, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  In those cases, the District Court had held in 2013 that BLM had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to assess potential contamination from fracking when it approved the sale of leases on approximately 2,700 acres of land in Monterey and Fresno counties. 

For more information on approvals needed for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, or on litigation affecting hydraulic fracturing, contact Steve O’Day or Chris Bowers.

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