Before approving a permit to use water-intensive horizontal hydraulic fracturing techniques to drill in New Mexico’s arid San Juan Basin, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must consider the cumulative effect of nearly 4,000 wells expected in the region in the “reasonably foreseeable” future, a federal appeals court held on Tuesday.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated five drilling permits that BLM has approved since 2014, when it updated its 2003 Resource Management Plan for the Farmington, New Mexico area. The update increased the estimate of horizontal fracking in the Mancos shale reserves from about 180 wells to 3,960.
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