Sale of Oil Leases on California Public Lands on Hold

The federal government is barred from auctioning off new drilling rights on public lands in California for at least another year under a settlement reached with environmental groups, one of the groups told Bloomberg.

The agreement details the US Bureau of Land Management’s obligations to comply with a 2016 court order requiring a more thorough analysis of potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing and other drilling activities before it opens the public lands for oil and gas development.

The settlement, approved by the US District Court for the Central District of California on 3 May, resolves a lawsuit the Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padre ForestWatch filed in 2015 Los Padres ForestWatch v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management , C.D. Cal., No. 2:15-cv-04378 MWF/JEM, 5/3/17 .

“Our hope is that this settlement puts the final nail in the coffin for BLM’s illegal practicing of rubber-stamping fracking in California without environmental review,” Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie, who represented the groups, said in a prepared statement on 4 May.

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