States and industry organizations are seeking to invalidate a recent hydraulic fracturing rule promulgated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (the Rule).1 The Rule will go into effect on June 24, 2015, and litigation has been filed by states and industry organizations to halt implementation of the Rule. Industry organizations brought suit to request a review of the Rule on March 20, 2015, and filed a request for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Rule’s application on May 15, 2015. Colorado and Wyoming filed a separate suit on May 29, 2015, to request a preliminary injunction alleging irreparable harm if the Rule is implemented.2 In addition, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) filed an unopposed motion to seek to intervene as respondents in the litigation, claiming that they have a right to defend the Rule and to prevent the Rule from being further diminished. This Alert summarizes the parties’ litigation positions with respect to the Rule and impending dates, concluding with oral arguments currently scheduled for June 23, 2015.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management Rule Titled “Oil and Gas; Well Stimulation, Including Hydraulic Fracturing, on Federal and Indian Lands”
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published the Rule entitled “Oil and Gas; Well Stimulation, Including Hydraulic Fracturing, on Federal and Indian Lands” on March 26, 2015. The Rule provides revisions for current federal oil and gas regulations that pertain to hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The Rule addresses drilling operations on over 750 million acres of lands contained within several western states. BLM reports that it received more than 1.35 million public comments on its initial proposed rule.3 Several industry organizations and states have asserted in the litigation that the Rule will severely curtail and impede oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands.