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May 19, 2010 8:36 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Judge puts brakes on Colorado oil shale lawsuits

A federal judge has grudgingly granted the federal government a ninth delay in responding to lawsuits challenging a plan to open nearly 2 million acres of public land in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado to oil shale development.

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 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.

The lawsuits by conservation groups claim the federal government broke environmental laws by curtailing public comment and failing to consider impacts on wildlife or the potential effects on climate change.

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