Bureau of Land Management repeals 2015 fracking rule on federal lands

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The Bureau of Land Management has repealed a 2015 rule regulating fracking on federal lands. Oil industry advocates are applauding the decision.... saying it will result in increased production.

The rule regulated the chemicals used in the fracking process and how wells were constructed. The BLM says those rules duplicate state regulations and are therefore unnecessary.

The state of North Dakota has been involved in a fight over fracking rules with the feds since 2015. Friday they got a small victory.

The department of Mineral resources called it a momentary win.

"The decision to repeal the 2015 rule is in line with North Dakota's legal arguments that the rule is duplicative and adversely affects the state's ability to enforce our already robust hydraulic fracturing regulations,” said Lynn Helms via a statement, Department of Mineral Resources.

Industry advocates say the rule was just more burdensome regulations which stifled growth.

"It allows the employees of the forest service or the Bureau of Land Management and those agencies to begin doing their job in terms of permitting which could help reduce flaring, the things that have gotten backlogged because they had all this extra new work," said Ron Ness, North Dakota Petroleum Council.

The state's Congressional delegation has also been working on the issue.

"Look the state already regulates it and one of the things we got to get away from are these duplicate, sometimes three different entities trying to regulate businesses and that just makes it harder to do business makes it harder to create jobs makes it more expensive for consumers," said Sen. John Hoeven, R- N.D.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp said in a statement: “This rule was redundant and duplicative as North Dakota and many other states currently have their own regulations in place to make sure chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are disclosed and that well construction is performed in a safe and responsible manner, while recognizing that a one-size-fits-all rule will not work for different geologic formations. We need a strong, true all-of-the-above energy strategy, and that includes oil and natural gas, to help support our state’s and nation’s energy security.”

One thing to note a challenge could come to revive the rules from environmentalists or other groups so this story isn't quite over yet.