Erase fracking regulations, industry tells Trump

A circuit court ruled a challenge on federal over-reach was "unripe," because the White House signaled it would rescind the rule anyway.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Sept. 26, 2017 at 7:13 AM
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Sept. 26 (UPI) -- With a court dismissing a challenge to federal rules on hydraulic fracturing, producers said it was time for President Trump to erase the law altogether.

"The industry recognizes that every energy-producing area has different geologic, topographic, and hydrologic conditions, which is why the states are far more efficient and effective at regulating hydraulic fracturing than the federal government," Barry Russell, the president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said in a statement.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's ruling on overreach challenges against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which wanted regulatory oversight from the states during President Barack Obama's tenure. While appeals were pending, however, U.S. President Donald Trump took office and began the process of rescinding the rules altogether, which in part led the circuit court to vacate the lower court's opinion.

Because of the changing circumstances, the appeals court said the matter was "prudentially unripe."

"The Obama-era rule is nothing more than duplicative federal overreach that would limit access to public lands and cost independent producers tens of thousands of dollars per well to implement without any measurable environmental or safety benefits," Russell added.

Last week, however, environmental groups said the circuit court's ruling meant regulations developed under Obama would now take effect. Protections outlined in the measure, said Michael Freeman, an attorney for Earthjustice, "are long-overdue."

Earthjustice represented the interests of six environmental groups in the case. The long list of petitioners in a case pitting federal authority over state law included shale-rich states like Colorado and North Dakota, Russell's group and the Western Energy Alliance.

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