California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued President Donald Trump’s administration Wednesday for nixing a fracking rule he believes protects the environment and public safety.
“Once again, President Trump and Interior Secretary [Ryan] Zinke didn’t let the law or facts get in their way in their zeal to repeal the 2015 Fracking Rule,” Becerra, a Democrat, said in the lawsuit.
“The Interior Department’s own factual record shows that the risks to our health and environment are real,” he added. “So, once again, the California Department of Justice will get in the way of another reckless Trump violation of our laws.”
Fracking does not affect water as much as critics believe, recent reports show. The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST), for instance, released a study in 2017 showing contamination of drinking water from fracking “has not been observed in Texas.” Other studies have made similar observations.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2017 found no instances of water contamination from fracking in 116 wells across the energy-rich regions of Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. The Environmental Protection Agency published a five-year study in 2016 that found fracking was not causing widespread groundwater contamination.
The former President Barack Obama-era rule targets the practice of fracking, a procedure used to obtain natural gas. The rule, which also requires companies to disclose chemicals used during the process, is intended to increase the safety of fracking by reducing the risk of water contamination.
Energy producers sued the Obama administration in 2015 to overturn the rule. The Bureau of Land Management issued regulations against the practice in March 2015. The Western Energy Alliance and Independent Petroleum Association of America sued the Obama administration to have the fracking rule overturned.
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