Cynthia Lummis

Judge deals setback to federal fracking rules

Judge deals setback to federal fracking rules

A judge ruled Tuesday that federal regulators lack the authority to set rules for hydraulic fracturing, dealing another setback to the Obama administration's efforts to tighten how fossil fuels are mined.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said the Bureau of Land Management can't set the rules because Congress has not authorized it to do so. The judge, who was nominated by Obama in 2011, wrote that the court's role is not to decide whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment, but to interpret whether Congress has given the Department of Interior legal authority to regulate the practice.

"It has not," wrote Skavdahl, who last year blocked...

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