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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Couple fighting oil, gas development in state game area

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A southwestern Michigan couple is suing the federal government over a planned lease of oil and gas development rights in the Allegan State Game Area.

John Davis Jr. and Marybeth Pritschet-Davis filed their lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

They say the Bureau of Land Management plans to auction 27,302 acres of subsurface mineral rights in the Allegan game area Sept. 12. The area hosts endangered and threatened species and also features trout streams, lakes and wetlands.

The Davises say they fear the agency will allow companies to conduct hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a method of developing natural gas in deep-rock deposits.

An advocacy group called the Center for Biological Diversity is supporting the suit.

BLM spokesman Robert Gillcash said the agency doesn't comment on pending lawsuits.