Ellery Gordon

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This Note will evaluate the regulations and environmental implications surrounding hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on state, federal, and Indian lands, focusing on the recent and still undecided case of Wyoming v. United States Dep’t of the Interior. Additionally, it will address the regulatory gap in federal regulations governing hydraulic fracturing, the current issues the industry faces, and advocate for a more stringent set of regulations that ought to be applied on a uniform basis throughout the United States. In the aforementioned case, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, and the Ute Indian Tribe brought suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for finalizing rules that govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The court issued a preliminary injunction asserting that the BLM had no authority to promulgate rules regulating hydraulic fracturing. This Note argues that the court relied on incorrect information regarding the dangers of fracking, and despite the court being limited by case precedent and statutory interpretation, strict regulation must be enforced in the industry. If Congress does not pass laws regulating the practice of hydraulic fracturing, the industry will continue to pump toxic chemicals into the earth, causing earthquakes, negatively effecting air quality, contaminating fresh water supplies, and posing risks to public health and safety.

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