The US Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday issued a proposed rule that would rescind Obama-era fracking regulations. The regulations, which were promulgated in 2015 and related to hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands, had never taken effect.
In March 2015, the BLM, then under the Obama administration, issued a final rule that imposed limits and reporting requirements on operators fracking federal and tribal lands. The regulations, which focused on well casing, wastewater storage, and disclosure of chemicals used in fracking operations, were widely decried by industry.
The rule was blocked in late 2015, before it could take effect, and in June of last year a federal district court judge overturned the rule, stating the BLM exceeded its authority in issuing the rule in light of the fact that Congress never directed the agency to regulate fracking. The BLM appealed, but the recent change in administrations led the BLM to ask for more time to reconsider the rule.
On Tuesday, the BLM’s review was complete, and it proposed rescinding the rule. It found the rule “unnecessarily duplicative” of state and tribal regulations. It also found that the rule imposed burdensome requirements and unjustified costs on industry.
The BLM is requesting comments on the planned rescission, which comments are due by September 25.
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