Tribal Lands Seek Protection Against Fracking

A recent article states that environmental and tribal coalition groups have sued to obstruct a rule from 2015 in order to protect wildlife and public resources. The case is set to repeal the Trump Administration’s change to the rule that protects against fracking on lands that belong to federal and tribal communities.

The repeal had previously eliminated federal protection that safeguarded tribal and public land for over 700 million acres. The law, enacted in 2015, forced companies to disclose to the public the chemicals used in fracking on these lands. The law also stated standards meant for the fracking companies to follow, as well as restriction of waste pits. These rules were administered to protect the ground and surface water from contamination.

The rule, however, did not take effect in the intended oil and gas industry. After President Trump was inaugurated into office, the government withdrew the rule in December of 2017. The management for the oil and gas industry run by the Center for Biological Diversity, called the BLM, is still in service under rules developed from the 1980s. These rules were in place before developing modern fracking techniques in the oil and gas industries. The administration also removed some of the rules that were applied in the 1980s regulations.

The BLM had previously developed the law in 2015 after a 5-year comprehensive review of the rules. They had cause for the review after believing the regulations were insufficient to protect the ecological and public risks posed to health after fracking was introduced to the oil and gas industries. Their practices allowed the 2015 rule to be developed in order to have safeguarded the public land and tribal communities followed by the BLM’s supervision.

The lawsuit requests the reinstatement of the 2015 ruling. They request the reinstatement from the Northern District of California’s U.S. Court District. The grounds for the request is based on the evidence there are breaches to several sections of federal legislation in the following:

  • Administrative Procedure Act
  • Mineral Leasing Act
  • Indian Mineral Leasing Act
  • Federal Land Policy and Management Act
  • National Environment Policy Act

Ongoing procedures will determine the outcome of the case.