Groups call for review of drilling permits near Chaco park

New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmental groups and some Navajo officials are calling on U.S. land managers to hold public hearings and conduct a more thorough review of several applications to drill in northwestern New Mexico’s San Juan Basin.

The groups have outlined their concerns in a letter to Bureau of Land Management state director Tim Spisak.

They initially sued in 2015, saying the agency violated environmental and preservation laws in approving drilling permits.

A federal appeals court dismissed the preservation claims but did rule that land managers conduct another environmental review for six of the permits. The court concluded the agency needed to consider the cumulative effects on water resources.

Environmentalists contend the subsequent review also was deficient and only 10 days were allowed for comment. They’re seeking hearings and a 60-day comment period.

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