Appeals Court Reverses Methane Leases

Denver, CO – A federal appeals court has given environmental groups a victory over the issuance of three coal-bed methane leases in the Powder River Basin. The 10th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has reversed the issuance of three leased to Pennaco Energy. Four conservation groups challenged a decision by U-S District Judge Clarence Brimmer upholding the Bureau of Land Management's issuance of the leases. Brimmer's decision overruled a ruling by the Interior Department's Board of Land Appeals. The 10th Circuit agreed the B-L-M did not adequatly study the full effects of coal-bed methane drilling because of the amount of water produced. The ruling could cast doubt on the validity of other leases on federal land in the Powder River Basin.