Federal Fracking Rule on Hold

by Elizabeth Alford on July 7, 2015

Fracking champions get a temporary reprieve as the new ruling for fracking on public lands is halted, just days before it was set to go into effect.

Related: New Fracking Rules for Public Lands

Last week,  U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl heard arguments from industry groups and oil and gas-producing states who called for an injunction on the new laws. The judge ultimately ruled that permitting of oil and gas wells on federal land will proceed under current regulations for at least another month.

The case before Judge Skavdahl actually combined two separate challenges from industry groups and several states who have filed lawsuits. All parties challenged the ruling stating that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not follow federal rule-making law and exceeded their authority.

Jessica Kershaw, a BLM spokeswoman said “While the matter is being resolved, the BLM will follow the court’s order and will continue to process applications for permit to drill and inspect well sites under its pre-existing regulations.”

The BLM passed new regulations in March after a four-year process that included over 1.5 million public comments. If it moves forward, the fracking rule 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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