Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Trump Administration Proposes Repeal of Fracking Protections

Popular
Trump Administration Proposes Repeal of Fracking Protections
Tom Reichner | Shutterstock.com

Three days before oral arguments are scheduled in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Bureau of Land Management safety measures to regulate fracking operations on public lands, the U.S. Department of Interior is moving ahead with its plan to rescind the 2015 rule.

The rule, which was the product of nearly five years of agency work, expert input, public comments and hearings, never went into effect after it was challenged immediately by oil and gas industry trade associations. After a district court judge set aside the rule in 2016, BLM and citizen groups appealed to the 10th Circuit in late 2016.


The Trump administration, however, reversed course in March 2017 and announced that it would propose repealing the rule. Today, the administration formalized that reversal with a proposal to be published Tuesday for public notice and comment.

"This is another cynical move by the Trump administration that sacrifices our public lands and public safety as a favor to the oil and gas industry," said Michael Freeman, the attorney for Earthjustice who is representing environmental groups who support the safety rules in the legal action.

Despite a request by the administration to stay the appeal, the 10th Circuit scheduled oral argument for July 27.

"The timing of this proposal is obviously linked to this week's oral argument. It is part of the administration's effort to circumvent the law by asking to stay this appeal while leaving the lower court ruling in effect. We oppose that request, and we'll see the agency in court Thursday morning," Freeman said.

The rule calls for drillers to disclose what chemicals are used in fracking fluids and to perform tests on the integrity of the wells before drilling can begin. It was the first time the rules had been updated since the 1980s.

In its proposal to rescind the rule, the Interior Department said, "BLM believes that the 2015 final rule unnecessarily burdens industry with compliance costs and information requirements that are duplicative of regulatory programs of many states and some tribes."

BLM staff members in New Mexico have reported, however, that they do not perform onsite inspections of hydraulic fracturing operations because "the work is too dangerous" under existing rules.

Earthjustice is representing Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Western Resource Advocates, Earthworks and Conservation Colorado Education Fund.

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld has his arm disinfected by Dr. Chao Wang during a Moderna clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine at Meridian Clinical Research in Rockville, Maryland on July 27, 2020. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The secretive blueprints for two of the leading vaccine candidates for the coronavirus were released Thursday. Pfizer and Moderna became the first two companies among the nine leading vaccine candidates to share their study designs, hoping that the disclosures will create trust and clarity for the public, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New Zealand could be the first country in the world to require its major financial institutions to report on the risks posed by the climate crisis. Lawrence Murray / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

New Zealand could be the first country in the world to require its major financial institutions to report on the risks posed by the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Patagonia's current logo. Ajay Suresh / CC BY 2.0

Eco-friendly outdoor brand Patagonia has a colorful and timely message stitched into the tags of its latest line of shorts. "VOTE THE A**HOLES," it reads.

Read More Show Less
The Tyre Collective's patent-pending technology captures tire wear right at the wheel. The James Dyson Award

This year, the UK National James Dyson Award went to a team of student designers who want to reduce the environmental impact of car tires.

Read More Show Less
The USDA and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the COVID-19 pandemic. RGtimeline / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch