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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wyoming Fights Fracking Regulations

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CN) - Wyoming challenged a new Department of the Interior rule on hydraulic fracturing, claiming only Congress can regulate fracking, and must do so through the Clean Water Act.

Wyoming wants the rule, published in the Federal Register on March 26, set aside. The rule, issued by the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management, regulates the underground injection of fluids, which is part of the fracking process.

The agencies cited the Federal Land Policy Act (FLPA) and the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) as justification for the law.

But Wyoming claims the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program under the Safe Water Drinking Act has exclusive authority to regulate underground injections "to ensure a uniform system of regulation."

"In light of Congress's specific intent that the UIC program provide the exclusive means for regulating underground injections, the general authorities granted to the BLM and the Interior Department in the FLPMA and MLA cannot be read to authorize regulation of underground injections outside the UIC program," Wyoming claims in the lawsuit.

"If Congress intended the FLPMA or the MLA to create special BLM or Interior Department programs for regulating underground injections outside the Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress would have said so, as it has in other environmental regulatory contexts."

Wyoming wants the rule set aside and vacated as a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Safe Water Drinking Act.

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