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Oil Drillers Spared More Misery by U.S. Judge's Fracking Ruling

  • Judge says U.S. land management bureau lacks regulatory power
  • States, industry groups fought federal rules as unnecessary
Updated on

A U.S. judge in Wyoming has blocked new rules that tighten controls over fracking on federal lands, granting a measure of relief to producers who would have faced higher costs at a time when profits already are strangled by low crude prices.

The order by U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl puts a temporary hold on the most closely-watched effort by the Obama administration to ensure that hydraulic fracturing doesn’t contaminate water supplies. While the rules apply only to federal lands, they are designed to spur states to follow suit, magnifying the impact and potentially slowing development of oil and natural gas resources.