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Judge Won't Halt Gas Survey Near Ancient Ruins

Judge Won't Halt Gas Survey Near Ancient Ruins

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A Colorado company can continue searching for gas deposits in a Utah canyon rich in ancient Indian ruins and rock art.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan refused today to halt the survey, and he threw out a lawsuit filed by The Wilderness Society and other groups.

Sullivan upheld the Bureau of Land Management's decision to let a Denver company work in and around Utah's Nine Mile Canyon.

Even as the case was being decided, Denver-based Bill Barrett Corporation began the seismic survey in May and plans to finish within two months.

Gas surveyors are setting off explosions in underground shot holes and using virbation trucks that pound the earth looking for underground gas traps.

Environmental groups argued the vibrations could crack ancient rock art panels and damage pit houses.

But the judge ruled the BLM was protecting ancient ruins and rock art by requiring surveyors to steer clear of them. Archaeologists are on hand to monitor the survey.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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