White House Plans to Contest Federal Ruling of Fracking on Public Lands

June 22, 2016

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that the Obama administration has plans to contest the federal ruling that made permanent a block on a rule setting stricter standards for hydraulic fracking on public lands.

"We obviously believe that we've got a strong argument to make about the important role the federal government can play in that ensuring hydraulic fracturing done on public lands doesn't threaten the drinking water of people who live in the area," Earnest said. "It's a pretty simple proposition and it is indicative of the common sense approach the Obama administration has pursued."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Scott Skavdahl, a federal judge in Wyoming, issued a blow to the Obama's environmental agenda by saying the Department of the Interior lacked the authority to issue the fracking regulation.

Judge Scott Skavdahl previously handed down an injection blocking the rule until the final decision was made.

The Bureau of Land Management issued in March 2015 the rule that applied to drilling on federal lands for oil and gas. Federal lands produce 11 percent of the natural gas and five percent of oil that is consumed in the United States.

"When it comes to the legal authority at stake we'll continue to make our case in the courts," Earnest said.

Earnest said that the ban on fracking on public lands was for creating space for innovation to strengthen the economy as well as protect public health and safety.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said in a statement:

"Hydraulic fracturing is one of the keys that has unlocked our nation’s energy resurgence in oil and natural gas, making the United States the largest energy producer in the world, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering energy prices for consumers. Yet the Obama administration has sought to regulate it out of existence. This is not only harmful for the economy and consumers, it’s unlawful — as the court has just ruled."