Environment | Law | National

White House defends fracking standards imposed on Indian Country

The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota hosts more than 1,000 fracking wells. Photo by Talli Nauman / Native Sun News

The Obama administration continues to defend the legality of a rule that imposed hydraulic fracturing standards on Indian and public lands.

Judge Scott Skavdahl issued an injunction against the rule last October and followed up with a decision on Tuesday that invalidated the rule entirely. The injunction is already before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the White House said the battle will continue there.

"When it comes to the legal authority at stake, we'll continue to make our case in the courts," spokesperson Josh Earnest said at the White House on Wednesday.

In his 27-page opinion on Tuesday, Skavdahl determined that the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938 and the Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982 do not authorize the Bureau of Land Management lacked authority to regulate fracking on Indian lands. The Ute Tribe of Utah had advanced that argument in court briefs.

Get the Story:
Obama administration decries judge’s fracking ruling (AP 6/22)
Obama Fracking Rule Is Struck Down by Court (The New York Times 6/23)

Hydraulic Fracturing Documents:
Press Release | Final Rule

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

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