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Ruling says BLM acted properly in oil, gas exploration

The U.S. District Court of Utah ruled Wednesday that the Bureau of Land Management acted properly in deciding to allow a geophysical exploration project intended to identify oil and gas deposits.

The exploration will be done by the Dawson Geophysical Company, which will send several 64,000-pound trucks into a 39,000-acre portion of the San Rafael Desert. The trucks will create vibrations by lowering steel plates into the ground. Scientists will then analyze the vibration patterns in an attempt to identify oil deposits.

Chief Judge Tena Campbell gave the order after reviewing the claims of the plaintiff, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which filed suit on May 3.

SUWA originally contended the BLM failed to adequately review alternatives to the geophysical exploration plan and that the BLM was wrong in issuing a finding of no significant environmental impact.

Based on case law, Campbell found the BLM's decision to allow Dawson to perform its study was neither arbitrary nor capricious. She therefore denied SUWA's request to have the BLM's decision reversed.