Court Finds Bull Mountain 146-well and Somerset 25-Well Projects Illegally Approved

CHC, together with our partners High Country Conservation Advocates, Wilderness Workshop, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and the Western Environmental Law Center, won an important court victory for our community, public lands, and our climate.

A federal judge ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service illegally approved the 146-well Bull Mountain Master Development Plan and the 25-well Somerset Project, two adjacent natural-gas drilling plans, northeast of Paonia. The judge found that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for failure to adequately analyze the downstream emissions impacts from drilling and the cumulative impacts of harm to mule deer and elk.

The judged ordered the agencies to quantify and reanalyze the foreseeable indirect effects of emissions and to clarify the area it used when analyzing potential harms to elk and mule deer habitat. However, we were disappointed by the court’s finding that the agencies appropriately and sufficiently analyzed the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, on water resources and human health, and impacts on air quality and water quantity.

Read more in our press release.

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