Bakken Applauds Recent Frack Decision

Federal Court: Frack Rules Unlawful

Federal Court: Frack Rules Unlawful

Bakken Shale operators and industry officials applaud the recent federal court ruling that declared the fracking rules unlawful.

Related:  New Fracking Rules for Public Lands

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl struck down the Obama administration’s attempt to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.

Skaydahl said, “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. The BLM’s effort to do so through the Tracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.

After a four-year investigation and more than 1.5 million public comments, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued new rules to regulate hydraulic oil and gas fracturing on public lands in March 2015. Industry groups quickly fired back and combined their challenges with state lawsuits to form a massive case that was heard in Judge Scott Skavdahl’s court in July.

The parties claimed the BLM exceeded their authority that new fracking rules aren’t necessary because the EPA has already granted authority to the states to monitor and protect underground water sources. Skavdahl ultimately ruled that permitting of oil and gas wells on federal land will proceed under current regulations for at least another month. Tuesday's ruling made that order final.

Oil industry officials and operators in North Dakota were among dozens who opposed the rules, arguing that the state. 

North Dakota has adopted sensible fracking regulations that work, because Congress intended the states to regulate fracking,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in a news release.


Alison Ritter, spokeswoman for the Department of Mineral Resources confirmed that the majority of minerals developed in North Dakota are privately or state-owned. Since roughly 30% of Bakken oil development contains some percentage of federal minerals, the BLM rule would have had a major effect on the state’s oil development.

Read the full decision here