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Enviros Fail in Lawsuit Questioning 2017 Nevada Lease Sales

A federal district court judge in Nevada has ruled against two environmental groups that sued the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over its handling of a pair of 2017 oil and gas lease sales.

The BLM offered 106 parcels totaling 195,600 acres for lease in the northern part of the state in June 2017. An additional three parcels totaling 3,680 acres were offered for lease in September 2017.

One day before the September sale was hed, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (Center for Biological Diversity et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management et al., No. 3:17-cv-553.

.The groups alleged, among other things, that BLM failed to take a "hard look" at the environmental impact of the leases, and argued that BLM’s decision to not prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) ran afoul of the National Environmental Policy Act. District Judge Larry Hicks disagreed.

"The administrative record reveals that BLM, using historical information and its experience, analyzed in general terms what could happen if a lessee decides to drill for oil and gas and constructs ground disturbing infrastructure," Hicks wrote in a ruling earlier this month.

Hicks also wrote that the court "finds that BLM has not irreversibly committed its resources towards oil and gas development, and therefore, it was not required to prepare an EIS."

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