North Dakota to testify against federal hydraulic fracturing rules
Officials from the state of North Dakota will be in a Wyoming District court on June 23 attempting to obtain a preliminary injunction to prohibit new Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rules from taking effect. North Dakota entered a lawsuit initiated by the state of Wyoming against BLM in late March for overstepping the agency’s regulatory bounds in regard to hydraulic fracturing. BLM issued the new rules March 20 that would require companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal and tribal to disclose chemicals used in their operations, and give BLM authority over the supply and disposal of water used in fracking.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem contends that BLM is usurping the authority given to the states. He told the state’s Industrial Commission June 10 that the federal rules are duplicate or in some cases even weaker that North Dakota’s. For instance, the state made open waste pits illegal at well sites but federal rules permit them. The BLM rules are set to take effect on June 24.
Stenehjem and the state’s Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms plan to attend the hearing in Casper that is anticipated to take six hours. The new rules would impact 40 percent of the state’s 1.2 million barrels of daily oil production on 32 percent of all Bakken/Three Forks spacing units.
- Maxine Herr