Description: Challenge to BLM's decisions to re-affirm the Trump administration's authorization and issuance of oil and gas leases on 42 parcels as well as the approval of 120 Applications for Permit to Drill in the Greater Chaco area in New Mexico.
Diné Citizens Against Ruining the Environment v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 10/26/2022 Petition for Review Download Petition for review of agency action filed. Groups Challenged BLM’s Affirmance of Trump Administration Approvals of Oil and Gas Leases in Greater Chaco Area. Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment and three other organizations filed a petition for review in the federal district court for the District of New Mexico challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) decisions to re-affirm “the Trump Administration’s flawed authorization and issuance of oil and gas leases on 42 parcels, covering nearly 45,000 acres of land” and BLM’s approval of approximately 120 Applications for Permit to Drill (APDs) on eight of the lease parcels. To resolve a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs challenged the Trump administration’s initial approvals of the oil and gas leases, BLM agreed to conduct new NEPA analyses and re-visit the earlier decisions. In their lawsuit challenging the re-affirmance of the Trump-era decisions, the plaintiffs asserted claims under NEPA, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and the Administrative Procedure Act, including by failing to take a hard look at cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and cumulative climate impacts in reapproving leases and approving APDs. The petitioners also alleged that the defendants failed to assess cumulative impacts of BLM’s leasing activities across the Greater Chaco region and of the oil and gas leasing program across the western U.S. Under FLPMA, the plaintiffs alleged that BLM acknowledged multiple negative environmental impacts from the challenged actions, including millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, but failed “to take action necessary to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation in the context of climate impacts” and the significance of the Greater Chaco area.