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Fracking Rule for Federal Lands Ruled Unlawful

by Elizabeth Alford on June 23, 2016

A federal court has declared the fracking rule for federal lands is unlawful.

Related:  New Fracking Rules for Public Lands 

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl struck down the Obama administration’s attempt to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.

Skaydahl said, “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. The BLM’s effort to do so through the Tracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.”

In March 2015, 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 in July.

The parties claimed the BLM did not follow federal rule-making law and exceeded their authority. They also argued that new fracking rules aren’t necessary because the EPA has already granted authority to the states to monitor and protect underground water sources. Skavdahl ultimately ruled that permitting of oil and gas wells on federal land will proceed under current regulations for at least another month. Tuesday’s ruling made that order final.

Read the full decision here

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