As discussed in a prior post, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl recently struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. In the BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule, the BLM imposed stricter rules on well casing, wastewater storage, and chemical disclosure. Judge Skavdahl held that the BLM lacked the authority to enact the rule. On Friday, the BLM filed its notice of appeal of Judge Skavdahl’s decision. The appeal is currently pending before the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to the BLM’s recent appeal, the BLM and the other groups supporting the BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule appealed the district court’s preliminary injunction of the rule. The States of North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah (collectively, “States”) have filed a motion to dismiss that prior appeal. The States have argued that the prior appeal is moot—in other words, that the appeal would not grant the BLM relief. The States are supported by the other opponents of the BLM’s rule—namely, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Western Energy Alliance, and the Ute Indian Tribe.
Specifically, the States contend that Judge Skavdahl has now ruled on the merits of the case—that is, whether the BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule is invalid. Because Judge Skavdahl ruled on the merits of the case, the States argue that any appeal of the preliminary injunction Judge Skavdahl imposed would have no impact. In the States’ opinion, any challenge of the merits of Judge Skavdahl’s ruling must arise from Judge Skavdahl’s final judgment.
Click here to view the States’ motion to dismiss.