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Wilderness Workshop v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20178
Nos. 1:16-cv-01822-LTB, (D. Colo., 10/17/2018) (Babcock, J.)

A district court granted in part environmental groups' request for judicial review of BLM's resource management plan (RMP) for an area in the Colorado River Valley. The groups argued that the agency failed to consider the severity and impacts of greenhouse gas pollution and climate change, methane emissions, and oil and gas on human health when it revised the Glenwood Springs Resource Area RMP. The court found that the agency violated NEPA by not taking a "hard look" at the reasonably foreseeable indirect impacts of oil and gas development in the area, but that it did take an appropriate look at the cumulative impacts of climate change and methane emissions. The groups also argued that the agency's range of alternatives violated NEPA by omitting any option that would meaningfully limit oil and gas leasing and development in the area. The court agreed, finding that the agency did not closely study an alternative that closed low- and medium-potential lands despite admitting there was an exceedingly small chance of them being leased. The court therefore granted in part the groups' petition for review and ordered counsel to attempt to reach an agreement before it issues a final ruling on remedies.