Environmentalists: Leasing Petrified Forest Land To Oil And Gas A Slippery Slope

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 11:23am
Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 12:13pm

Environmentalists want to stop the Bureau of Land Management from leasing more than 4,000 acres of land near the Petrified Forest National Park to the oil and gas industry.

The group filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court contending the agency failed to look at the consequences, environmental impacts and adverse effects of drilling.

Rebecca Fischer, a climate and energy program attorney with WildEarth Guardians, told Capitol Media Services that more than just the leases are at issue.

"We at WildEarth Guardians have seen a rush to give away oil and gas lands, our federal public lands for oil and gas, since the Trump administration came to office, and really just greasing the skids for private industry to take over public lands for 40 or more years," she said. "The BLM parcels straddle the Petrified Forest over the Coconino aquifer."

Attorneys have also argued that millions of people in northern Arizona rely on the water it supplies from the Little Colorado River, which in turn flows into the state's water supply as it unites with the Grand Canyon.

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