Right Hooks

Obama-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Fracking Regulation

Well this is embarrassing for Barack Obama.

Dan Gilmore · Jun. 23, 2016

Well, this is embarrassing for Barack Obama. Judge Scott Skavdahl — a judge Obama appointed to the Federal District Court in Wyoming — ruled that the Interior Department’s regulations on fracking were unlawful because Congress didn’t give it the power to hand down such rules. While the vast majority of fracking occurs on state and private land, the rules would have required oil companies operating on federal land to follow stricter safety guidelines.

“Hydraulic fracturing is one of the keys that has unlocked our nation’s energy resurgence in oil and natural gas, making the United States the largest energy producer in the world, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering energy prices for consumers,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement. “Yet the Obama administration has sought to regulate it out of existence. This is not only harmful for the economy and consumers, it’s unlawful — as the court has just ruled.”

Congress, in a 2005 law, explicitly stated that the executive branch did not have the power to regulate fracking, the Wall Street Journal points out. That leaves room for states to decide the level of red tape they want to impose on the industry. But Obama, the erstwhile lecturer of constitutional law, didn’t need a 2005 law to tell him that; the spirit of that same statute is found in the Tenth Amendment. The courts have been striking down executive action after executive action of Obama’s because he doesn’t follow the Constitution. It’s especially significant that a judge Obama nominated has called a halt to this instance of unlawful executive overreach.

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