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District Court Blocks New Fracking Regulations

by Elizabeth Alford on October 5, 2015

A U.S. District Court last week issued a preliminary injunction that effectively blocks the federal government from imposing stricter guidelines for fracking on public lands.

Related: New Fracking Rules for Public Lands

In March, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued new rules to regulate hydraulic oil and gas fracturing on public lands after a four-year investigation that included over 1.5 million public comments.

Industry groups quickly fired back and combined their challenges with state lawsuits to form a massive case that was heard in Judge Scott Skavdahl’s court. All parties were claiming the BLM did not follow federal rule-making law and exceeded their authority. The groups also claim the new fracking rules aren’t necessary because the EPA has already granted authority to the states to monitor and protect underground water sources.

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) told cnbc that regulations would “cause major harm to states, industry, and the American people if implemented.”

If the new fracking rules go into effect, they would require:

  1. A validation of well integrity in order to protect groundwater supplies
  2. Companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations
  3. Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife
  4. Companies to submit more detailed information before fracking to reduce the risk of cross-well contamination


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