Nevada fracking suit ruling expected next week

RENO — A federal judge intends to decide next week whether to block the release of oil and gas leases in Nevada that critics say will be used for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and cause more environmental harm than the Bureau of Land Management admits.

Lawyers for the Reese River Basin Citizens Against Fracking urged U.S. District Judge Miranda Du on Wednesday to issue an emergency order to prevent the BLM from formally issuing the leases later this month in an area stretching across about 270 square miles of central Nevada.

BLM lawyers said that while the leases were sold in July, there won’t be any formal agency action until they actually are issued as early as Sept. 15. They argue the matter isn’t ripe for legal challenge until BLM decides whether to issue additional permits allowing drilling.

Du said she tended to agree the lawsuit might be premature, but expects to rule next week.

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