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Federal judge delays hearing on New Mexico drilling lawsuit

GRANTS, N.M. — A federal judge in New Mexico has delayed a hearing for a motion by a coalition of environmental groups to block oil and gas drilling in the Greater Chaco region.

The Gallup Independent reported Wednesday that the chief district judge for New Mexico listed numerous reasons for the delay, including increased immigration activity on the state’s southern border.

The coalition that filed the lawsuit Aug. 1 includes Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, San Juan Citizens Alliance, WildEarth Guardians, Western Environmental Law Center, and the Sierra Club.

The court in May reversed the federal Bureau of Land Management’s approval of 25 drilling permits issued prior to 2016 as the result of a similar lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

The new lawsuit concerns permits issued from 2016 to present.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com

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