Obama-appointed federal judge slaps down fracking regulations on federal land
At least one federal judge appointed by President Obama understands that the executive branch cannot make up laws on it own, contrary to the bills passed by Congress and signed into law. And as a result, the Obama administration’s war on energy independence suffered a major blow. Timothy Kama of The Hill reports:
A federal judge appointed by President Barack Obama struck down the administration’s regulation on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands on Tuesday, ruling that the Interior Department does not have congressional authority to regulate fracking.
The decision is a major loss for the administration, which worked for years to update its oil and natural gas drilling regulations to account for dramatic increases and innovations in fracking.
Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District Court of Wyoming agreed with the arguments of industry groups and a handful of western states that said Congress has expressly forbidden Interior from getting into fracking with a 2005 law, with few exceptions.
“Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” Skavdahl wrote in his opinion published late Tuesday. “The [Bureau of Land Management’s] effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.”
Interior had countered with the argument it has broad authority over oil and natural gas development on federal and American-Indian land — the only places where the rule would be enforced. But Skavdahl, who was nominated in 2011 by Obama, disagreed.
“Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently, regardless of whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States,” he wrote.
These are words that should be applied to many other Obama administration initiatives:
Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman