Two environmental groups are suing the Bureau of Land Management, alleging that the federal agency has failed to curb ozone levels and safeguard air quality in northwestern New Mexico from oil and gas industry emissions.
Dine CARE and WildEarth Guardians filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Santa Fe.
The groups contend the BLM—which oversees oil and gas activities in the San Juan Basin, one of the largest natural gas fields in the nation—is responsible for allowing ozone pollution in the region to rise to dangerous levels.
The lawsuit argues that the BLM leased more than 22,000 acres during quarterly oil and gas lease sales in April and July without addressing ozone pollution or requiring air pollution controls.
"Communities throughout the Four Corners region, including our communities on the Navajo Nation, are struggling with harmful air pollution, a legacy of dirty energy development," said Anna Frazier of the Navajo environmental group Dine CARE. "We need clean energy solutions that leave a legacy of clean air and healthy children."
According to the lawsuit, BLM allegedly violated federal environmental law by going forward with the leases without preparing environmental impact statements and without providing a timely opportunity for public involvement.