Monday, May 06, 2013
EIS Requirements For Fracking on BLM Lands
In the first federal court decision to directly examine an agency’s review of the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, a federal magistrate judge in the Northern District of California ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when the agency failed to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to entering into two oil and gas leases with companies seeking to conduct hydraulic fracturing (commonly called “fracking”). Order Re Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Land Management, No. 11-06174 (N.D. Cal. filed Dec. 8, 2011).
The March 31, 2013 decision turned directly on a finding that increasing interest in hydraulic fracturing has rendered prior development forecasts in older Resource Management Plans (RMPs) and accompanying environmental reviews obsolete. The decision, if upheld, may cause BLM to require greater environmental scrutiny of hydraulic fracturing proposals on public lands, including preparation of an EIS. (Marten Law)