The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to allow drilling on the Roan Plateau in Colorado—a 50,000 acre area that the energy industry believes to contain “one of the largest gas fields in the continental United States,” according to Reuters—has been stopped by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger for failing to adequately address environmental impacts. Among the largest concerns are air-quality issues resulting from ozone emissions.
“Like many areas of Colorado, the area has been blessed with an abundance of two major resources, the uses of which are often in conflict,” wrote Krieger in a 38-page opinion document, according to Reuters. “Its surface offers extensive and largely unspoiled … scenic, ecological and wildlife virtues. Below the surface … contains valuable oil and gas reserves.”
“The Roan is one of Colorado’s gems,” said Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman, according to the Associated Press. “It’s going to get a second look, and we hope it will be protected.” Earthjustice is representing a host of environmental organizations involved in the lawsuit challenging the BLM’s plans.