A federal appeals court said Wednesday it will not reconsider its September decision overturning a lower court's order to block the Obama administration’s fracking rule.
The Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said it was not interested in rehearing arguments to block the Bureau of Land Management's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In September, it said that the case was moot since the Trump administration's Interior Department is moving to repeal the regulation on oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands.
The rule affects oil wells on public lands that are found mainly in the West.
The Bureau of Land Management plans to repeal the fracking rule by the end of January, according to the administration's regulatory agenda.
The Obama-era rule targets the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has made the U.S. the world’s leading producer of energy.
BLM says the fracking rule "unnecessarily burdens industry with compliance costs and information requirements that are duplicative of regulatory programs of many states and some tribes,” according to the unified agenda. “As a result, we are proposing to rescind, in its entirety, the 2015 final rule.”
Killing off the rule has been a top priority of the oil and natural gas industry, as well as Republican lawmakers from western states.
Activist groups are expected to sue the agency after the rule is made final, adding to the list of Trump administration actions being challenged in court in the new year.