Federal land managers will launch a statewide scientific assessment of oil and gas development in California, a victory for environmentalists concerned about impacts of hydraulic fracturing nationwide.
The Bureau of Land Management announced that it will conduct the in-depth environmental study of fracking and other oil and gas recovery projects in a cooperative project with the state.
The decision comes after a federal judge determined the BLM violated environmental law by auctioning off the rights to extract oil using the controversial process on 2,500 acres of prime public lands in Monterey County.
The BLM says the outcome of its assessment could establish additional environmental protections on those parcels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated last year that California’s Monterey Shale formation contains more than 15 billion barrels of oil