In March, Judge Haywood Gilliam in the Northern District of California upheld the Trump BLM’s 2017 rescission rule that overturned the 2015 Obama hydraulic fracturing rule. This means that the 2015 fracking rule that the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Western Energy Alliance have been fighting in three different courts for so many years has received another district court ruling against it. And while echoes of Monty Python’s “I’m not dead yet” echo in my ears, as the environmental groups are likely to appeal, the 2015 BLM fracking rule has lost another serious lifeline.
A rough summary of how we got here:
We’ll see what the next move is from the environmental groups, but it’s pretty damning that the San Francisco-based court has put another dagger in the heart of the 2015 fracking rule. An appeal to the Ninth Circuit, also largely perceived as liberal, is likely, but even that court has precedent regarding the discretion of the Executive Branch to set policy. The Trump Administration went through the proper rulemaking process, and although the judge made clear in his ruling that it is not the policy he prefers, he adhered to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in upholding the rescission rule.