Groups appeal suspension of federal oil, gas drilling rules

USEPABy MEAD GRUVER – Associated Press – December 3, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Environmental groups have appealed a judge’s decision to suspend new rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land across the U.S. pending the outcome of a legal challenge to those rules.

The rules should be allowed to take effect to protect land, water and wildlife from practices including hydraulic fracturing, the Sierra Club and others argue in court documents.

On Sept. 30, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl in Wyoming disagreed and blocked the rules from taking effect while the lawsuit contesting them moves ahead.

The environmental groups, which have sided with the federal government in the case, appealed Skavdahl’s decision Nov. 27 to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case itself remains before Skavdahl in Casper.

The plaintiffs are Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, the Ute Tribe and two petroleum industry groups, the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. They say the rules would be costly for industry and cause economic harm to the states.

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