Friday, July 26, 2013

Conservation Groups Challenge BLM in Court

Colorado BLM Field Offices
Photo courtesy of the BLM.
A coalition of seven conservation groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday in federal court in Denver. The groups are challenging the Bureau of Land Management's decision to allocate over 800,000 acres of federal land within the Rocky Mountains for oil shale and tar sands development.
The BLM had amended 10 resource management plans in March, which opened 687,600 acres open for oil shale leasing and 132,100 acres for tar sands leasing within the public lands of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The agency did not undergo formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as required by the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit claims the the BLM's allocation of land violates the Endangered Species Act. The conservation groups claim that the BLM failed to fulfill its obligations by foregoing formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the BLM failed to consider the impacts that widespread development would have upon desert plants and threatened species.

The lawsuit was filed by the following conservation groups: Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Living Rivers, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Rocky Mountain Wild, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and the Center for Biological Diversity

To access the lawsuit, visit this website.
Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant