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Los Padres ForestWatch v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20147
Nos. 15-4378, (C.D. Cal., 09/08/2016) (Fitzgerald, J.)

A district court held that BLM failed to take a "hard look" at the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing with regard to the agency's resource management plan (RMP) for public lands in California's central region. Under the resource management plan, 25% of new wells are expected to use hydraulic fracturing. Yet, the RMP makes no mention of fracking at all, let alone a meaningful discussion to inform decisionmakers and the public of the attendant environmental concerns unique to fracking. BLM's failure to address the environmental impact of fracking was a flaw "so obvious" that plaintiffs did not need to expressly point it out to preserve their ability to challenge this omission. And BLM's remaining arguments that plaintiffs did not adequately alert the Bureau to their request for a supplemental EIS or an alternative that would reduce oil and gas activities are not supported in the record. The court therefore ordered BLM to prepare a supplemental EIS to analyze the environmental consequences flowing from the use of hydraulic fracturing.