From the Associated Press via The Durango Herald:
U.S. District Court Judge John Kane granted the request last week, extending the deadline to July 16. But Kane said he’s not inclined to approve any more delays, noting that the two lawsuits were filed nearly 17 months ago. Federal officials made the latest request because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Kane said while he is sympathetic to the “existence of factors beyond Defendants’ control which have contributed to the delay of this proceeding,” settlement negotiations have been under way for nearly eight months. “I strongly urge the parties to either resolve this controversy or prepare to litigate,” Kane said.
The lawsuits by conservation groups claim the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management violated environmental laws by curtailing public comment and failing to consider impacts on wildlife or the potential effects on climate change. The 13 groups suing also argue that regulations setting the royalty rates for oil shale violate federal law requiring fair-market value for public resources.