Enviro groups sue to stop new Calif. oil leases

Citing fracking concerns, environmentists sue to stop oil leases on 17,000 acres in California

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Two environmental groups are suing the federal government over the December auction of nearly 18,000 acres of oil leases on prime public lands in Central California.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging that the Bureau of Land Management auctioned off the rights to drill for oil and gas without adequately considering the potential risks to the region's water supply, wildlife and air posed by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The land at issue includes scenic ranches and vineyards in Monterey County and is also part of the historic range of the endangered California condor.

Oil industry officials say companies are still whether it is economically viable to develop California's Monterey Shale formation, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates more than 15 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil.

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