Trade group hails injunction against fracking rule

A trade group has praised a court ruling granting a preliminary injunction against a U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule governing the use of hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas development.

Scott Skavdahl, a U.S. district court judge in Wyoming, granted the injunction, finding that Congress has not authorized or delegated to the BLM authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

Skavdahl also ruled the Western Energy Alliance and Independent Petroleum Association of America are likely to prevail in their challenge to the rule as arbitrary and capricious and that the states of Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming and the Ute Tribe showed the BLM had exceeded its authority.

“We are overjoyed that we are finally getting relief from the courts regarding the regulatory overreach of the Obama Administration,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at the Western Energy Alliance, a Denver-based trade association of more than 450 companies involved in oil and natural gas exploration and production in the Western United States.

“The United States has experienced a regulatory onslaught from an administration that acts as if it is not bound by the limits of the law. The regulatory overreach has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and prevented considerable economic growth,” Sgamma added.

“That is a significant finding for the oil and natural gas industry since for several years the environmental lobby has fomented fear in the public about an engineering process that has been safely regulated by states for decades,” Sgamma said. “The judge admonished BLM for acting on unfounded claims rather than rational evidence.”