Colorado’s South Shale Ridge is a beautiful maze of twisting canyons and multicolored badlands. Hikers and hunters delight in its wildness, where bald eagles fly overhead and rare plants grow on the canyon floors.
For years, the South Shale Ridge was on a trajectory to becoming designated wilderness. But in 2005, in an about face, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased almost the entire area for oil and gas drilling.
Earthjustice went to court on behalf of national and Colorado conservation groups to defend the Ridge from destruction. In 2007, a U.S. district court judge ruled in favor of the groups by declaring that the government must study the impact of drilling on the region’s wild resources before selling leases.