Jan 7, 2011 2:04 PM by AP
DENVER (AP) - Federal officials are again saying they don't believe exploratory drilling at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge will cause significant impacts.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service originally made that conclusion in 2008 after it reviewed plans from Lexam Explorations to drill wells to look for oil and gas.
The agency said then that there were enough restrictions in place that the refuge wouldn't be harmed. However, after conservation groups sued, the agency agreed to assess the environmental impacts again.
A new draft environmental assessment it released Friday found there would be "less than significant" impacts. It says Lexam's activities would be temporary, and drilling restrictions would keep the refuge from being unreasonably degraded.
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