Lawsuit says oil boom imperils national park


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. land managers violated environmental laws and their own regulations when issuing dozens of leases to drill in one of the nation’s busiest oilfields, environmentalists claimed Monday in the latest lawsuit aimed at getting the federal government to consider the cumulative effects of oil and gas development.

WildEarth Guardians filed its complaint Monday in U.S. District Court, claiming the oil boom in southeastern New Mexico is a threat to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the surrounding area’s cave systems and desert slopes.

The group also is concerned about deteriorating air quality, arguing that the Bureau of Land Management failed to weigh the effects of more leases with the surge in development across the Permian Basin, which straddles west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The leases in question cover more than 106 square miles in New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management declined to comment on the lawsuit filed Monday and did not immediately provide details on the status of the pending resource management plan.

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