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Lawyers: Skavdahl Got it Wrong in Fracking Ruling

by Elizabeth Alford on August 22, 2016

Law professors from around the country claim the courts have it all wrong and push to overturn the recent ban on fracking rules for public lands.

Related: Fracking Rule for Federal Lands Ruled Unlawful

When Judge Scott Skavdahl blocked the federal fracking rules put into place by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) last year, he used an article by Florida State law professor Hannah Wiseman to support his position. Last week 35 law professors from around the country joined Wiseman to file a court brief claiming the judge was wrong in his interpretation of the article.

This came in the same week that the Obama administration also filed a brief to argue against the ruling, saying that the BLM does have the proper authority to regulate oil and gas activity on public lands.

“The agency clearly has the authority — indeed, a duty — to regulate hydraulic fracturing under several of its enabling statutes.” – Florida Law Professor, Hannah Wiseman

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued new rules in March 2015 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.

Since 2007, there has been a steady increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing, but the rules to oversee the practice had not been updated in three decades. The BLM began its work to update existing rules in 2010 after growing public concern amidst the shale oil boom that expanded the use of hydraulic fracturing, the technology that extracts oil from the rock.  

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