RSN August 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Excerpt: "A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land.... The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide."

President Barack Obama speaks on fuel efficiency standards for model years 2017-2025 cars and light trucks at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, 07/29/11. (photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks on fuel efficiency standards for model years 2017-2025 cars and light trucks at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, 07/29/11. (photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)




Federal Judge Throws Out Obama Drilling Rules

By Mead Gruver, Associated Press

13 August 11

 

judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land.

US District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said.

The government argued that oil and gas companies had no case because they didn't show how the new rules, implemented by the US Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service last year, had created delays and added to the cost of drilling.

Freudenthal rejected that argument.

"Western Energy has demonstrated through its members recognizable injury," she said. "Those injuries are supported by the administrative record."

An attorney for the government declined to comment but Kathleen Sgamma, director of government and public affairs for the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance, praised the ruling.

"She completely discounted the government's argument that the harm was speculative," Sgamma said of the judge.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 allows the BLM and Forest Service to invoke categorical exclusions and skip new environmental review for drilling permits under certain circumstances.

The circumstances include instances where companies plan to disturb relatively little ground and environmental review already has been done for that area. A categorical exclusion also can be invoked when additional drilling is planned at a well pad where drilling has occurred within the previous five years.

Categorical exclusions were widely used throughout the West - especially in the gas boom states of Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico - until last year.

In Wyoming, the BLM invoked categorical exclusions for 87 percent of the new gas wells drilled in the Upper Green River Basin between 2007 and 2010. Those drilling permits added up: Close to 3,000 over those three years in the basin's Jonah Field and Pinedale Anticline gas fields.

The Jonah Field and Pinedale Anticline ranked fifth and sixth for gas production in the US in 2009.

Federal land agencies adopted new rules for interpreting the Energy Policy Act last year in response to an environmentalist lawsuit over the use of categorical exclusions. The Western Energy Alliance sued over the new rules last fall.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+38 # Regina 2011-08-13 09:48
What stocks does that judge or he family members own in the oil companies involved in this case? This decision isn't free of taint.
 
 
+3 # punk 2011-08-13 09:56
what?
 
 
+33 # noitall 2011-08-13 10:12
Having judges on the take is even more harmful to our form of government than is all the Senators and Congressmen that are on the take. Between the two agencies of the People, the People's right to self government has been usurpt.
 
 
+15 # Activista 2011-08-13 11:11
"US District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group"
judges are worse than the local party members - power without control - BRIBE is considered NORMAL.
Welcome to banana US Republic.
 
 
-3 # Cathy Wilheim 2011-08-14 13:29
What evidence do you have that this judge is on the take? To assume that every government official who makes a ruling or takes an action that you disagree with took a bribe to come to that conclusion is destructive of our democratic system. Find the evidence, and I will join you in calling for this judge's resignation.
 
 
+21 # reiverpacific 2011-08-13 11:07
This used to be categorized as "National Sacrifice Areas" when the government or one of the corporate-socia lized energy giants suddenly found uranium on Indian Lands and has been used under one guise or another to acquire and stockpile other war or power-making materials, like low-grade Tar-Sands Coal extraction in Canada, clear-cutting Timber in the Pacifica Northwest, Coal -and it's attendant Arsenic-laced tailings at the Four corners Peabody mine or removed by environmental and community-destr oying extreme mountaintop blasting in Appalachia, "Fracking" for Gas in Ohio and other areas, as rationalization for taking lands under "National Security Eminent Domain".
This judge is just another patsy in the long line of jello-knee'd conformists in the thrall of the Military-Indust rial-Correction al establishment, who probably live in secured gated communities.
Nobody or anything is safe from this crowd and it's greased-palm dotards!
 
 
+6 # giraffee2012 2011-08-13 11:16
We KNOW the Supremes are corrupt: Corporations are "persons" to buy our elections - but cannot be sued!! Persons can buy anything and Persons can be sued!

Here's the best summary (5 minutes) of what is broken and corrupt: Boss Obama: "expose the filth in the US Government" -- it's now or never!

http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/83-83/6936-bushonomics-the-meltdowns-true-villain

and

http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/6994-who-bankrolls-the-super-congress
 
 
+8 # giraffee2012 2011-08-13 11:19
Register and get mail-in ballots NOW -- you've been warned by the GOP/TP that voting might not be available as usual.

Did you and your dog LOVE the "beeps" on the Friday night GOP candidates LIES? Of course they missed a few.

This Rick from TX is worse than all of them -- his record to be elected 2x as govenor of TX - is too similar to Bush in 2000 & 2004 --UGH

Do NOT stay home in 11/2012 -- it's now or never
 
 
+4 # giraffee2012 2011-08-13 11:22
In 2010 a dozen major companies, including GE, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Fed Ex paid US tax rates between -0.7% and -9.2%. Production, employment, profits, and taxes have all been outsourced….


Meet those who have $46Trillion (T) + of the USA dollars
http://www.readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/83-83/7011-wrapper-template
 
 
+1 # nice2blucky 2011-08-13 12:09
I know little to nothing about this case, the rules adopted by the Bush administration, or the changes by Obama.

But it occurs to me that, if Obama has been a disaster on so many levels, ... and it just may be that this judge's ruling is wrong, ...

But what if Obama, or his chosen representatives , just happened to change rules in a way that opened the door, or kept one open, for this possibility.

Maybe the implemented rule changes were intentionally weak, rather than air tight, and not all avenues for proper process and environmental protections were not secure...

Intentionally.

When these rules were implemented, were there people who said that these changes were not enough, not the right changes, or flawed?

Just wondering.
 
 
+6 # JABPO 2011-08-13 12:21
Obama scares no one now after showing such weakness through the debt crisis negotiations.
 
 
+13 # joan 2011-08-13 14:44
God help us all if Perry gets elected... or any other republican
 
 
-1 # nice2blucky 2011-08-15 14:05
And even worse, Obama.
 
 
+8 # joan 2011-08-13 17:37
Irony
after the election of Barack Obama, Freudenthal's husband, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, submitted three possible nominees to the Obama administration for it to consider nominating: his wife, another attorney, Ford Bussart, and a state district court judge, Norman E. Young.[3] "I thought about that long and hard, and the question really came down to (was) should she be penalized for having married me," Dave Freudenthal told a local newspaper. "And the conclusion I came down to is that all three of them are qualified, and fortunately, it's up to the president and not me."
In August 2009, the United States Department of Justice contacted Nancy Freudenthal about the nomination and she was interviewed by Justice Department lawyers on October 5, 2009. Obama formally submitted her nomination as his nominee to the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming on December 3, 2009.[1] Freudenthal would fill the vacancy created in 2006 by Judge Clarence Addison Brimmer, Jr. taking senior status. President George W. Bush previously nominated Richard Honaker for the seat, but he never received a hearing on his nomination.
The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on Freudenthal's nomination on January 20, 2010.
The United States Senate confirmed Freudenthal on May 5, 2010 in a 96-1 vote.
 
 
+1 # looselyhuman 2011-08-14 11:06
http://www.followthemoney.org/database/uniquecandidate.phtml?uc=7418
 
 
+5 # tomo 2011-08-14 16:19
Thank, Joan, for your account of the irony. Obama chose a very weak Secretary of the Interior when he chose Ken Salazar. Then, as if for insurance against the possibility Salazar might do something good after all, he appointed Nancy Freudenthal to the State District Court in Wyoming. This led to the present situation where Interior was trying to slow down the speed with which we agree to the exploitation and deterioration of our environment, and the good judge was on hand to speed things up again.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN