This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 27, 2016:
An Obama-appointed federal judge ruled last Tuesday that the Interior Department and its agency the Bureau of Land Management overreached its authority in issuing rules on fracking. He declared: “Congress has not delegated to the Department of the Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing [fracking]. [Its] effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.”
When the Fracking Rule was originally published by the BLM in March 2015, the Independent Petroleum Association of America immediately filed suit, which was joined by the states of Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and Utah. Federal Judge Scott Skavdahl, the same judge who ruled on Tuesday, placed a temporary injunction on implementing that rule until he had time to review it in detail. That temporary injunction would have expired last Friday.
Skavdahl didn’t consider the Fracking Rule itself, which would have allowed government bureaucrats to swam all over some 100,000 oil and gas wells on federal lands while checking for water and chemical leaks; inspecting piping and tubing; and making sure all the new paperwork was in order, which includes listing publicly the various chemicals used in the fracking process. Instead he got to the core issue: Did the Interior Department and its BLM have authority to issue such regulations in the first place?
He said no: