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Lawsuit challenges oil, gas lease sales in eastern Arizona

July 16, 2019 GMT

HOLBROOK, Ariz. (AP) — Three environmental groups have sued the federal government over oil and gas lease sales in eastern Arizona.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the leases last September. They cover more than 6 square miles (17 square kilometers) in Navajo and Apache counties. Two are near Woodruff and the third is near the Petrified Forest National Park.

The lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix alleges the BLM failed to adequately analyze the impacts on local communities, public lands, animals and water sources. It seeks to force new environmental reviews.

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The BLM declined comment.

The leaseholders need to secure a permit before drilling.

Companies have been eyeing eastern Arizona for helium exploration. The lease sales haven’t been as controversial as others elsewhere in the western U.S.