Federal judge halts gas drilling plan on Colorado plateau

By REUTERS
June 23, 2012 08:46

 
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DENVER - A US district judge ordered the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Friday to re-assess its plan to allow drilling on some 50,000 acres on the Roan Plateau, which the energy industry says contains one of the largest natural gas fields in the continental United States.

Judge Marcia Krieger said BLM had failed to thoroughly assess all the environmental impact to the ecologically sensitive plateau in western Colorado before approving energy development on the mountain.

"Like many areas of Colorado, the area has been blessed with an abundance of two major resources, the uses of which are often in conflict," Krieger wrote in her 38-page opinion.

"Its surface offers extensive and largely unspoiled ... scenic, ecological and wildlife virtues. Below the surface... contains valuable oil and gas reserves." The BLM failed to consider alternative plans, or fully address air-quality issues and the potential impact from ozone emissions, Krieger wrote.

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