Utah natural gas plans spark row

Jan. 24, 2013 at 8:13 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Environmental groups suing the U.S. government over natural gas plans in Utah said they hope to find an agreeable solution to the developmental issues.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and The Wilderness Society last week filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management at U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. They say the BLM left out recreational and environmental groups when assessing the effects of a plan to drill thousands of natural gas wells in Utah.

Nada Culver, a spokeswoman for The Wilderness Society, was quoted by the Platts news service as saying the coalition aimed to find a reasonable solution to the issue.

"That's been our hope and maybe that will happen," she said.

Environmental advocates contend natural gas development in the state would harm sensitive ecosystems and lead to more greenhouse gas emissions.

"I thought there was a way to do this project in a way more consistent with this administration's approach to oil and gas development," Culver said.

There was no comment offered by the BLM or state government.

The U.S. Energy Department states that Utah hosts four of the country's 100 largest natural gas fields. Natural gas production from the state accounts for about 2 percent of the output from the country.

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