Nevadans Fight Fracking on Federal Land
RENO, Nev. (CN) - A citizens group sued the federal government to try to stop it from leasing 231,000 of public lands in Northern Nevada, where private companies can use fracking to extract oil and natural gas.
Reese River Basin Citizens Against Fracking sued the Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of the Interior on Friday in Federal Court.
Reese River, in northeastern Nevada, is part of the Humboldt River drainage, which provided an historic route for settlers across the Sierra Nevada.
The citizens group claims the defendants announced sale of the oil and gas leases on April 14 without properly analyzing "many of the significant environmental effects of the oil and gas development that could occur upon development of the leases."
The land is in Lander, Nye and Esmeralda counties.
"Among the numerous deficiencies of the EA [environmental assessment], the BLM ignored or downplayed the impacts the lease sale and subsequent development would have upon air quality, cultural and historical resources, Native American religious and cultural sites, riparian and wetland impacts, threatened and endangered species, waste fluids, forest and rangeland, geology and mineral resources, geothermal conflicts, range resources, and recreation impacts. Endangered and sensitive species in the area include the greater sage grouse, eagles, sage grouse, mule deer, pygmy rabbits and bats," the complaint states.
The group claims the BLM also failed to address the impacts fracking will have on water quality and the region's limited water resources.
"As a result of BLM's failure to follow legal procedures and its lack of due diligence in regard to environmental protection, irreparable harm will result if the sale of leases is allowed to go forward."
The group claims the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, which requires the federal government to perform a thorough environmental impact study before selling leases for activities that might hurt the environment. The group claims the defendants assessed the impact of drilling on only 710 of the 230, 898 acres for which leases will be sold.
They seek declaratory judgment and want the sale of the leases enjoined.
They are represented by Glade L. Hall of Reno.