A federal district court has upheld the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind a rule governing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on public and tribal lands.
California and environmental groups led by Sierra Club had filed suit to block a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) final rule issued in late December 2017 to officially rescind the fracking rule the Department of Interior (DOI) unveiled in March 2015.
Issuance of the final rule, they said, violated the Administrative Procedure Act, National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
California argued that BLM arbitrarily ignored the foregone benefits of the 2015 rule when weighing the costs and benefits of repealing the rule, according to court documents.
Judge Haywood Gilliam of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California disagreed, finding among other things that BLM “met the requirement of providing a ‘reasoned explanation’ for why it is changing course after the nearly five-year long extensive rulemaking that resulted in the 2015 rule.
“Although BLM could have provided more detail, it did enough to clear the low bar of arbitrary and capricious review, and that is all the law requires,” Gilliam said in an order issued Thursday.