ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal appeals court says U.S. land managers should have done more to consider the cumulative effects on water resources before approving a handful of oil and gas drilling permits in northwestern New Mexico.
Tuesday’s ruling comes in a long-running dispute over hundreds of permits that have been issued in the San Juan Basin. Environmental groups and some Native Americans have voiced concerns about the effects of increased development on the region’s culturally significant sites.
The groups claimed in their initial complaint filed in 2015 that the Bureau of Land Management violated environmental and preservation laws in approving the permits.
“We always knew BLM wasn’t doing their job – we watch their violations and non-compliance every day,” said Kendra Pinto of Counselor Chapter House, a member of Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “To finally be vindicated by a higher court is the necessary step forward we need. Now we must continue to hold BLM accountable.”
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