Federal Judge Blocks BLM Rules for Fracking on Federal Lands

judge says noFinally a spot of good news in the never-ending battle to keep the federal government out of the business of regulating oil and gas drilling. Going all the way back to 2012, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency that sits under the umbrella of the U.S. Dept. of Interior (DOI), proposed draft rules for fracking on federally-controlled land (see BLM Issues Proposed New Rule for Fracking Federal Lands). There are some federal lands in the Marcellus/Utica–but not much. However, it’s the larger principle at stake: Will we allow the federal government under the Obama Administration to continue violating the U.S. Constitution, which specifically leaves oil and gas regulation to the individual states? Since 2012 several drafts of BLM’s fracking regulations have been released, the final version in March of this year (see BLM Introduces “Final” Fracking Rules for Fed Lands – 3 Yrs Late). The BLM adopted the new rules in March with the intent of enforcing them, but they were quickly sued in federal court by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Western Energy Alliance, the Ute Indian tribe and the states of Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah. A federal judge ruled yesterday that the BLM cannot enforce their new fracking rules pending the outcome of the larger case. The judge believes the states (and IPAA and WEA) will prevail in their case–saying that Congress has not specifically granted the BLM the power to regulate fracking. Perhaps this will also put the breaks on the out-of-control EPA in its quest to regulate fracking…

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