DENVER— The federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has lost its fight to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal land. Yesterday, a Wyoming federal judge granted a request by four states—Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming—to permanently set aside hydraulic fracturing rules issued by the BLM in March 2015. Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman joined in the case on behalf of Colorado. The states challenged the federal rules and were granted a preliminary injunction in September 2015 while the court considered whether the states or the federal government has authority to regulate fracking on land within a state’s borders. The final decision in the state’s favor came late yesterday.
“For the past year, we’ve successfully made the case that these rules unlawfully interfere with Colorado’s sovereign right to responsibly and safely regulate the oil and gas industry,” said Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman. “Lately the federal government has stretched the outer limits of its power through aggressive rulemaking. This case is another unfortunate example of federal bureaucrats overstepping their authority.”
The states’ challenged whether the BLM is allowed to impose its own regulations on hydraulic fracturing when federal law give the states the authority to regulate in this area. Yesterday’s court order agreed with the States that the BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rules violate federal law. The court’s order explains that “Congress has not directed the BLM to enact regulations governing hydraulic fracturing” and yet “[d]espite the lack of authority, the BLM persisted in its rulemaking efforts.”
“This case has never been about whether we should regulate hydraulic fracturing. As a State, Colorado is doing so effectively and responsibly,” Attorney General Coffman said. “This case is about holding the federal government accountable when it ignores the law.”
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