Thursday, February 05, 2004

Faith Based Initiative?

Coalition Sues to Limit Drilling for Oil and Gas in New Mexico


Published: February 5, 2004

HOUSTON, Feb. 4 - A group of Navajo officials, cattle ranchers and environmentalists sued the Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday over federal efforts to increase natural gas exploration in northwestern New Mexico, an area rich in mineral resources.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, also names the Department of the Interior as a defendant. It seeks to limit the drilling of oil and natural gas wells in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico. Federal officials recently said that they would permit nearly 10,000 new wells in the basin over the next two decades.

Over the last year, Navajo officials and environmental groups have tried to roll back plans by the bureau to permit energy companies to explore for natural gas on religious sites and in areas they consider environmentally fragile. Despite Navajo protests, however, the bureau has approved the drilling plans and the construction of 1,000 miles of roads to give drillers access to the area....