In a small victory for the oil and gas industry, a set of rules implemented by the Obama administration, designed to slow down and prevent drilling on federal lands, has been thrown out. US District Judge, Nancy Frudenthal ruled in favor of a suit brought by the petroleum industry group, Western Energy Alliance. The ruling means the Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling environmental reviews will be reinstated and followed on federal lands.
The Obama Administration‘s harmful environmental review policies for oil and gas drilling have been thrown out.
This means that lands sought for drilling can be rapidly used without the need for a new review in such cases where very little ground will be disturbed or when existing facilities will be used and that were used in the previous five years time. By reversing this policy, the Obama administration required an additional review be done, a process that Western Energy Alliance portrayed as redundant, unnecessary, and costly.
Until the Obama administration changed the rules, companies were able to quickly drill and develop resources when needed, especially throughout the American west. Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico were prime states for drilling until last year when the rules changed.
The Western Energy Alliance filed suit to challenge the new rules last fall. The change in policy will mean that the pace of drilling on federal lands will increase soon and many Americans out of work in the oil and gas drilling industry may have jobs sooner than expected.