Conservation groups to sue BLM

Posted at 8:34 PM, May 27, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY -- Several conservation groups are gearing up for a fight against the Bureau of Land Management over oil shale and tar sands.

Seven organizations have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue; organization officials said the BLM violated the Endangered Species Act when it opened the door for potential oil shale and tar sands projects on federal land in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

The notice of intent was filed on May 23, about one month after the organizations say the BLM amended its guidelines for about 800,000 acres of land that could see oil shale and tar sands projects.

In the notice, the groups allege that the BLM didn’t properly consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about protecting endangered species on those lands. The notice also states that the BLM’s resource management plans recognize the potential for negative impact on species endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The notice states the BLM begins looking at which species will be impacted once a specific project begins. The BLM  has said that doing a biological assessment on the site before a project is proposed would be largely based on conjecture and speculation.