/ Modified jul 16, 2019 3:58 p.m.

Lawsuit challenges northern Arizona fracking leases

Conservation groups say the BLM violated laws by not conducting environmental reviews or consulting tribes.

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FLAGSTAFF — Conservation groups sued the Trump administration Monday for attempting to drill for oil and gas in northern Arizona without an environmental review.

The federal government leased 4,200 acres of public lands in the Little Colorado River basin to oil and gas companies. Conservation groups said in the lawsuit the Bureau of Land Management violated several federal laws by refusing to conduct environmental reviews or consult with area tribes.

Taylor McKinnon, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity, said instead of a detailed environmental review, the agency filled out a checklist that claimed a 1988 resource management plan that predates fracking technology was sufficient.

"The skipping of environmental review was a direct result of new national policy," McKinnon said. "It's caused a lot of uproar that communities are just being rolled here so the federal government can lock leases in with industry."

Tens of thousands of people who sent letters opposed to the lease sale are worried about the risks involved with fracking and potential impacts to the nearby aquifer that so many in this region rely on.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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