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Citizens for a Healthy Community v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20044
Nos. 1:17-cv-02519-LTB-GPG, (D. Colo., 03/27/2019) (Babcock, J.)

A district court ordered BLM and environmental groups to agree on a remedy for BLM's failure to address impacts from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its NEPA review for oil and gas development in Colorado. The groups argued that BLM failed to take a "hard look" at the severity and impacts of GHG pollution and climate change. The court found that the agency took an appropriately hard look at cumulative climate change impacts in its EIS and EA as well as the ecological, economic, and social impacts of the project's GHG emissions, but that it failed to do so for the foreseeable indirect effects of oil and gas combustion. The groups also argued that BLM failed to examine and disclose threats to water resources and human health from hydraulic fracturing, but the court disagreed. Lastly, the groups argued that BLM failed to take a hard look at the cumulative impacts of the projects on air quality, water quantity, and wildlife. The court found the agency sufficiently assessed the development's cumulative impacts on air quality and water quantity, but failed to sufficiently explain the scope of cumulative impacts on mule deer and elk. It ordered the agency and the groups to reach an agreement as to remedies concerning BLM's noncompliance with NEPA.