Description: Lawsuit challenging federal defendants’ approval of the North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan, which allowed drilling of 35 horizontal gas wells in an area on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains.
Citizens for a Healthy Community v. U.S. Department of Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/10/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Challenged Master Development Plan for Oil and Gas Development in Colorado. Five environmental groups filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Colorado challenging federal defendants’ approval of the North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan (MDP), which allowed drilling of 35 horizontal gas wells in an area on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. The groups alleged that “[t]here remains a fundamental disconnect between public land management for energy production, particularly in the West, … and the scientific consensus on the climate crisis and what must be done in the near future to mitigate its worst effects.” They asserted that the federal defendants failed to take a hard look at greenhouse gas emissions, including downstream indirect impacts, cumulative impacts of project emissions, and the context and intensity of emissions. The plaintiffs said the defendants should have employed the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases or carbon budgeting to evaluate the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. The plaintiffs also alleged a failure to take a hard look at methane waste, including by using an outdated global warming potential for methane. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants did not consider alternatives or conditions to reduce impacts such as methane reduction technologies or best management practices.