In this challenge to the federal government’s sale of oil and gas leases for nearly 2,700 acres of federal land in California, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as to their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) claims, finding that the potential use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques in future well development had a “reasonably close causal relationship” to the action at issue even though single well development had been the norm in the past, and that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was unreasonable in categorically refusing to consider projections of drilling that included fracking operations. The court therefore found that BLM’s environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were erroneous as a matter of law. Rather than determining a remedy, the court ordered the parties to meet and confer and submit an appropriate judgment. The court denied plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as to claims under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
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