Federal Judges Halt Destructive Oil and Gas Drilling in Pristine Desert Grasslands
May 8, 2009
After years of litigation, a coalition of environmental groups, including Sierra Club, achieved a major victory last week when federal judges in Denver ruled to protect New Mexico’s Otero Mesa from oil and gas development. Otero Mesa is one of the wildest desert grasslands in the nation and is home to a number of rare species, including aplomado falcons, prairies dogs, and pronghorn antelope.
The judges found that the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed land use plan for Otero Mesa failed to adequately consider the full protection alternative for the area and ignored the potential detrimental impacts on groundwater in a critical regional aquifer.
In effect, the ruling protects 1.9 million acres of pristine public land from being opened up for oil and gas extraction and represents a monumental win in Sierra Club’s campaign to protect and promote resilient habitats.
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.