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US government failed to consider climate impacts of oil, gas: judge

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A U.S. judge blocked drilling on more than 300,000 acres of federal land in Wyoming, saying officials in their environmental analyses failed to adequately consider the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing.

The ruling, by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Rudolph Contreras, was issued late on Tuesday, according to court documents.

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The Department of Interior, which is the defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. DOI oversees the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is responsible for oil and gas development on federal lands.

“Having reviewed the record and the relevant law, the Court concludes that — withholding judgment on whether BLM’s leasing decisions were correct — BLM did not sufficiently consider climate change when making those decisions,” Judge Contreras wrote in the order.

The lawsuit was filed in 2016 against the Obama administration by two conservation groups, WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility. It alleged that the government failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act because it did not account for greenhouse gas emissions generated by oil and gas development when it leased parcels in three Western states – Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.

The ruling on Tuesday only pertains to 282 leases issued in Wyoming after five sales held between May of 2015 and August of 2016.

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In his order, the judge ordered further environmental review by the Bureau of Land Management. Until those documents are completed, he blocked the agency from issuing drilling permits on the leases. He declined to cancel the leases.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Court delivers brutal ruling against Kim Davis — the Kentucky clerk who blocked same-sex marriages

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