Five environmental orgs sue U.S. Interior over Mesa County gas leases | CraigDailyPress.com

Five environmental orgs sue U.S. Interior over Mesa County gas leases

The Grand Junction Sentinel

This natural gas processing plant near Parachute is operated by Williams. The plant cools the raw gas to separate out additional fuels, such as propane and butane, and purify their primary natural gas product.

GRAND JUNCTION– Five environmental organizations sued Friday, challenging the Interior Department’s leases on more than 45,000 acres of land in Mesa County for natural gas production.

The Bureau of Land Management in December rejected protests by the organizations, who contend that leasing the lands — which include parcels roughly from the town of Mesa to Highline Lake — for hydraulic fracturing would threaten businesses and water and air quality, as well as damage the climate.

The agency leased the lands without adequate environmental analysis, the organizations said.

“Fracking is a filthy, dangerous business, and dodging environmental analysis puts people and public lands at risk,” said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Trump administration is trying to ignore science, public health and climate change threats to enrich corporate polluters, but it can’t shrug off the law.”

Mesa County and other local governments stand to benefit from taxes related to drilling, Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis said, pointing to taxes that fund schools, grants and other local governments.

Read more at The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.