As Colorado drilling rebounds, Montana judge rules in favor of climate change

Just as Colorado’s oil and gas industry is starting to show signs of life – emerging from depressed natural gas prices and, it appears, in spite of those “job-killing” new environmental regulations that just may set a higher standard for the rest of the nation – along comes a judge in Montana who feels a whole new set of factors may have to come into play: climate change data.

gas well

The Associated Press reported late last week that a federal judge approved a first-of-its-kind settlement requiring the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to suspend 38,000 acres of Montana oil and gas leases to assess how oil fields contribute to ongoing climate change.

Conservationists sued to block lease sales in 2008, claiming the industry allows too much waste and emits too many green house gases using technology that could and should be updated to mitigate the impacts of widely accepted scientific data on global climate change.

The deal approved by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula suspends 61 leases for 90 days while they go through a new round of environmental reviews.

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