Few Changes To Colorado Fracking After Judge Nixes Federal Regulations

June 22, 2016

A federal judge struck down a 2015 rule aimed at regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, but the ruling is expected to mean few changes for companies that use that kind of drilling in Colorado.

The Bureau of Land Management had hoped the regulations would standardize fracking practices across the country, including disclosing the chemicals they use in the process. 

But Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, along with three other states, argued in court court that the federal rule was beyond the authority of the BLM.  U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl agreed, and pointed out that Congress had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight. Via NPR:

"The issue before this Court is not whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States," he wrote. The question, instead, is "whether Congress has delegated to the Department of Interior legal authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. It has not."

Statewide rules in Colorado already require operators to disclose the chemicals they use. But the rule would have added additional measures to disclose the volume and source of water used for fracking.