US Court Sets Aside Obama Administration Fracking Rules for Public Lands


June 22 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Wyoming has set aside new regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands that were vehemently opposed by oil and gas producers.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacked Congressional authority to set the rules that cover the practice on federal and Indian lands, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl in Wyoming ruled on Tuesday.

Skavdahl had put the rules, which were issued in their final form in March 2015, on hold a year ago to weigh requests from energy industry groups and several states to stop them from being implemented. He then issued a preliminary injunction against the rules in September, making it permanent in Tuesday's decision.

The government's appeal of last year's injunction is pending at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the ruling for acknowledging lawmaker's powers and for protecting "the energy revolution from the heavy hand of big government."

"Only Congress can write laws. Agencies acting without authority from Congress is simply illegal," he said in a statement that also defended fracking for helping to provide jobs and push down U.S. energy prices.

Representatives for the Interior Department and the White House could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Editing by Anthony Lin and Meredith Mazzilli)


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