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Interior Stiffs Scientists, Says Sierra Club

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has not provided the National Academy of Sciences with enough money to study the effect of methane production on surface and groundwater resources, as required in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, environmentalists claim in Federal Court.

Kempthorne and the Department of the Interior allegedly gave the NAS only $15,000 for a "meeting and oral summary" instead of the $430,000 it needs to conduct a full report on the environmental impact of methane extraction. The government might have selected the cheaper alternative to avoid taking money away from its wholesale approval of oil and gas drilling permits, the Sierra Club and other groups claim.

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