May 4, 2010 8:58 AM by Associated Press

Federal judge upholds drilling in southwestern Colorado

A federal judge has upheld approval of gas wells in parts of the southwestern Colorado mountains, rejecting arguments by environmentalists that the plan doesn't adequately protect sensitive areas and wildlife.

The ruling issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch (maych) says any flaws in the plan authorizing about 140 wells in the San Juan National Forest are "minor in proportion to the full context of the agency action under review."

Environmental groups contend that federal agencies' pledges to avoid old growth forests and protect key wildlife habitat and waterways on the public land have been ignored.

Of special interest are the HD Mountains, which include roadless areas and make up roughly 45,000 acres of the 125,000-acre project area.


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