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New US fracking rules delayed until mid-October

Washington — New federal fracking rules, originally set to take effect in June, will be delayed until at least mid-October after both sides in a federal case challenging the rules requested more time this week to submit arguments.

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"Given the voluminous nature of the record, the parties agree that additional time is necessary to complete a preliminary review of the record and identify additional citations pertinent to the pending motions for a preliminary injunction," attorneys wrote in joint motion Wednesday.

US District Court of Wyoming Judge Scott Skavdahl approved the motion Thursday, setting up an expected decision in the case by mid-October.

The fracking rules at the center of the case include new chemical disclosure, well construction and fluid disclosure requirements finalized by the US Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management in June. The rules were not expected to have an immediate impact due to the limited amount of oil and natural gas production that takes place on federal lands, but are seen as a significant hurdle to drilling on roughly 700 million acres of federal land and could stymie future fossil fuel development, four states and two industry groups have argued in lawsuits.

In lawsuits, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance, both industry groups, along with the attorneys general from Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah and Colorado, have sought to overturn the rules.

--Brian Scheid,
--Edited by Annie Siebert,