Victory: Federal judge rules BLM failed to consider risks to Montana’s environment and water supply before issuing 287 oil and gas leases

John Lambing; Earthjustice

MAY 1, 2020
Great Falls, MT —Today, Montana landowners, farmers, and conservation groups won an important victory to protect local groundwater and the climate when a federal judge ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to consider risks to Montana’s environment and water supply before issuing 287 oil and gas leases covering 145,063 acres in December 2017 and March 2018 lease sales. The court’s decision will protect Montanans, their livelihoods, clean water, public lands, and our climate by reversing the Bureau of Land Management’s recent approval of oil and gas leases across staggering swaths of Montana’s public lands.

BLM’s lease sale would have paved the way for the destructive fracking boom to spread onto 145,063 acres of Montana public lands. Rural landowners and conservation groups, including WildEarth Guardians and Montana Environmental Information Center, banded together to fight BLM’s lease sale because of the agency’s failure to take a hard look at the impacts of fracking on Montana’s water quality, water quantity and our climate. Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center represented the parties in federal district court.

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