Things are not going well for Bureau of Land Management fracking regulation . . .
A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration’s regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn’t have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.
In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight.
Skavdahl made it clear what he was — and wasn’t — considering in his ruling.
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The voluntary fracking standards just established for the Northeast will likely have a “halo effect” on fracking elsewhere in the country. In fact, this may very well have been a factor in Anschutz Exploration’s recent decision to halt exploratory drilling on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation just east of the Continental Divide . . .
Some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking in the Northeast that could lead to a major expansion of drilling.
The program announced Wednesday [March 20] will work a lot like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal of approval on electrical appliances that meet its standards.
In this case, drilling and pipeline companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry.
Many of the new standards appear to be stricter than state and federal regulations.
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