Judge rules Interior Department lacked Congressional authorization for fracking rules

Wall Street Journal:
A federal judge in Wyoming has blocked an Interior Department rule setting stricter standards for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the latest blow to an administration environmental agenda that has drawn wide opposition from Republicans and industry officials.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl issued a ruling late Tuesday invalidating the regulation, saying the Interior Department lacked the authority to issue it because Congress hadn’t given the agency such authority. The same judge last year issued a preliminary injunction blocking the rule until he made a final decision.

Mr. Skavdahl, whom Mr. Obama nominated in 2011, said the issue before his court wasn't whether fracking “is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States,” but rather whether Congress had given the Interior Department the authority to regulate fracking.

The department’s rule “is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law,” Mr. Skavdahl wrote.
 Obama lacks sufficient political skills to work with Congress on regulations he wants to impose.  His attempt to circumvent Congress did not work in this case and in others where he has tried to impose environmental policies on his own.  Hillary Clinton seems to have the same authoritarian impulse.


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