martes, 5 de julio de 2016

Federal judge strikes down Interior's fracking rule

Hydraulic fracking

A federal judge today struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s March 2015 fracking rule, saying the Interior Department does not have the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

“Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” concluded Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. “The BLM's effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 “expressly removed” Interior's authority to regulate most types of fracking, the judge concluded. (The law does allow BLM to regulate fracking involving diesel fuel.) The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA "the authority and duty to regulate hydraulic fracturing on all lands, federal, state and tribal,” he wrote.

Interior argued that neither the SDWA nor the 2005 EPAct specifically prohibited regulating fracking under other laws — but Skavdahl wasn't buying it.

“Congress' inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently, regardless of whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States,” Skavdahl wrote.

Skavdahl, who was named to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2011, put a temporary injunction on the rule last summer. An appeal of that injunction is pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, though it was unclear whether that appeal would move forward given Skavdahl’s ruling.

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