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BLM launches assessment of Calif. oil, gas leasing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Federal land managers have decided to launch a statewide scientific assessment of oil and gas development in California.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday that it will conduct the in-depth environmental study of hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas recovery projects in a cooperative project with the state.

The decision comes after a federal judge last year determined the BLM violated environmental law by auctioning off the rights to drill or frack on 2,500 acres of prime public lands in Monterey County.

The BLM says the outcome could establish additional environmental protections on land leased for such exploration in Central California.

Preliminary issues to be addressed include surface and ground water, air quality, greenhouse gases and the impacts of the chemicals pumped into shale to loosen deposits.