Appeals court dismisses hydraulic fracturing rule case

Published on September 25, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently dismissed the appellate case on Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance’s challenge of a final rule regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands.

“Today’s court decision confirms what IPAA has advocated all along: Dismissing the appeal protects independent producers from the uncertainty of having to potentially comply with regulations that are certain to be revoked,” IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell said. “All three judges ruled unanimously that it would be a waste of judicial resources to proceed with this case. The appellate court’s decision confirms IPAA’s consistent position that the hydraulic fracturing rule represented regulatory overreach and that the rulemaking process was flawed from the very beginning.”

In March 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands. IPAA, Western Energy Alliance, the states of Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah, as well as the Ute Indian Tribe, challenged the rule in the federal district court of Wyoming, saying that it was duplicative of states’ efforts and unsubstantiated.

In July 2016, the rule was struck down. The federal government and environmental parties involved in the lawsuit filed an appeal with the Tenth U.S. Court of Appeals. After a request from the Tenth Circuit Court, the Department of Justice notified the court that the current administration’s priorities differed from the previous administrations and recommended suspending, revising or rescinding a number of energy regulations including BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule.

“Independent producers have been engaged with the U.S. Department of the Interior on its proposal and repeatedly shared our concerns with the Obama administration at every step of this rulemaking process and in numerous follow-up meetings with federal regulators,” Russell said. “IPAA stands ready to work with the Department of the Interior and the new administration on a workable resolution for the environment, American energy production and economic development, well-paying U.S. jobs, and the nation’s energy security.”