Federal judge puts temporary hold on BLM's fracking regulation

A fracking operation in North Dakota. Photo by Joshua Doubek / Wikipedia

A federal judge in Wyoming placed a temporary hold on a fracking rule that takes effect today.

Judge Scott Skavdahl acted on a request from the energy industry and four states. He ordered the Bureau of Land Management to wait until July 22 before imposing the controversial hydraulic fracturing standards on federal and Indian lands.

The delay came after a judge in Colorado refused to grant a temporary restraining order requested by the Southern Ute Tribe. That case, however, will proceed on the merits as the Ute Tribe in neighboring Utah announced that it will also join the fight against the rule.

"Tribes should be allowed to decide for themselves whether regulations governing hydraulic fracturing are necessary to protect tribal lands," Chairman Shaun Chapoose said in a press release, The Deseret News reported. "It is not appropriate for the United States to determine for tribes what is in their best interests by setting forth one federal rule for all tribes."

While the legal cases play out, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking for a more permanent solution. H.R.2822, the fiscal year 2016 Interior appropriations bill, prevents the BLM from implementing or enforcing the rule altogether.

The House will start consideration of the bill tomorrow, according to the Republican majority leader's schedule. Citing the provision, as well as other policy riders, President Barack Obama is threatening to veto the package, the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy yesterday.

Get the Story:
Ute Tribe seeks to join lawsuit against BLM 'fracking' rule (The Deseret News 6/24)
Federal judge issues stay on BLM fracking rule (The Casper Star-Tribune 6/24)
U.S. judge temporarily blocks new fracking rules on public lands (Reuters 6/24)
Judge Delays BLM’s New Fracking Rules (K2 Radio 6/23)
Judge blocks federal fracking rule (The Hill 6/23)

Federal Register Notice:
Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands (March 26, 2015)

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