The Obama Administration suffered a setback this week in its fight to add stricter regulations to the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Related: New Fracking Rules for Public Lands
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl issued a preliminary injunction effectively halting the efforts to add tighter regulations for fracking on public land.
The case before Judge Skavdahl combined two separate challenges from industry groups and several states who have filed lawsuits. All parties challenging the ruling stated that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not follow federal rule-making law and exceeded their authority. The groups also claim these additional rules aren’t necessary because the EPA has already granted authority to the states to monitor and protect underground water sources.
At question are the new regulations proposed in March by the Bureau of Land Management in March. The rules came after a four-year investigation that included over 1.5 million public comments. If it moves forward, the fracking rule would require:
- A validation of well integrity in order to protect groundwater supplies
- Companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations
- Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife
- Companies to submit more detailed information before fracking to reduce the risk of cross-well contamination