The anti-science nutballs in the environmental movement and the federal government have been trying to regulate hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, out of existence. The reason is simple. Fracking allows the extraction of oil and gas from shale, etc., at an economic price and without leaving a huge, bloated public-relations bonanza of a footprint above surface. Government studies have shown fracking to be safe. (Full disclosure: the well on my property was drilled using fracking so some may say that is prima facie evidence that it is dangerous.)
Prior to 2005, only the EPA had regulatory authority over fracking. In 2005, Congress acted to remove fracking from the EPA’s purview and allow each state to regulate the process. That wasn’t good enough for the Department of the Interior. It went ahead and issued its own regulations.
A federal judge in Wyoming on Tuesday night struck down the Interior Department’s hydraulic fracturing regulation. As Pro’s Alex Guillén reports, Judge Scott Skavdahl, who issued the injunction against the rule last year, made abundantly clear he didn’t see any way the agency could impose the regulation. “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” wrote Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, adding “The BLM’s effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.” The Energy Policy Act of 2005, he said, “expressly removed” Interior’s authority in this area, he added.
Interior responds: In an email to ME, a spokesman for Interior said, “It’s unfortunate that implementation of the rule continues to be delayed because it prevents regulators from using 21st century standards to ensure that oil and gas operations are conducted safely and responsibly on public and tribal lands.”
Judge Skavdahl is an Obama appointee. So his fidelity to the law is rather shocking.
This is the mindset that permeates the US government. Even absent the authority to do so, a lawless cabinet secretary serving under a lawless president can issue regulations… regulations which can result in jail time and fines if you ignore them… well outside their legal boundaries and it is left to the whim of a federal judge