A federal judge has halted oil and gas development in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF) after a ruling last year found the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) failed to adequately consider the impact of unconventional development when they opened the land for drilling.


The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordered the agencies to further review their authorizations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Pending review, this week’s order blocks new leases in the WNF, prohibits new drilling permits and surface disturbance on existing leases, and prohibits water withdrawals from the Little Muskingum River.

Judge Michael Watson said the USFS and BLM “demonstrated a disregard for the different types of impacts”...