Laramie, Wy – Prompted by court and administrative
rulings, federal land managers will review more than 400 coal-bed
methane leases in the Powder River Basin.
The leases were issued before management plans in northeast
Wyoming were updated to reflect the drilling industry's impact on air and water.
Some say the decision could halt some existing development. But B-L-M officials doubt anything that drastic will occur.
A 30-day public comment period ends January 15th.
The B-L-M reviews are a victory for conservation groups that launched political and legal pressure on the agency five years ago.
In August, the 10th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an administrative ruling that the B-L-M failed to adequately account for the unique impacts of coal-bed methane development.
The environmental groups say the new reviews will force the B-L-M to take a more thorough look at coal-bed methane development.