Tenth Circuit Finds BLM Needs to Take a Hard Look Under NEPA for New Mexico Fracking Permits

March 2023

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 3, Number 6

On February 1, 2023, the Tenth Circuit for the United States Court of Appeals barred the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from issuing fracking permits in New Mexico’s Mancos Shale formation in Dine Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment et al. v. Bernhardt et al. because BLM failed to adequately examine climate change and air pollution impacts of these permits under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Court found that the BLM analysis, preceding its drilling permit approvals, was “arbitrary and capricious” because it failed to take a hard look at the environmental impacts from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and hazardous air pollutant emissions.

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