BLM Fracking Rule

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized its rule on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on March 20, 2015. The rule attempts to add redundant regulations for oil and natural gas development on federal and Indian lands throughout the nation, and will discourage investment and job creation in the West.

IPAA and Western Energy Alliance immediately filed suit. Our lawsuit argues the rule is not properly justified and duplicates state regulation. States have been regulating fracking for many years and have strengthened their regulations recently as activity has increased and technology has improved. In fact, 100% of the permits to drill approved in 2014 by the Interior Department are in states with recently updated fracking regulations. Wyoming, ColoradoNorth Dakota, Utah, the Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Tribe also sued BLM over the rule. Industry stands with the states and tribes and their proven record of success safely regulating fracking.

On September 30th, 2015 U.S. District Court of Wyoming Judge Scott W. Skavdahl granted a preliminary injunction and then issued a final ruling on June 21, 2016 that BLM lacks congressional authority to regulate fracking. The ruling is a major victory for the states, which have been successfully regulating fracking for many years without federal interference, including on public lands.

On June 24th, the government filed an appeal of the case. IPAA and Western Energy Alliance’s case contains another line of defense, which involves Administrative Procedure Act challenges regarding BLM’s failure to justify the rule and follow regulatory procedures. Because Judge Skavdahl ruled that BLM lacks statutory authority, he did not address our claims related to the APA. We are confident that these procedural claims, once fully considered by the 10th Circuit Court, will be equally compelling.  

Legal Briefs

Below are legal briefs from the court cases filed by Western Energy Alliance and IPAA along with various western states and tribes.