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Wyoming v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20231
Nos. 2:16-CV-0285-SWS and 2:16-CV-0280-SWS, (D. Wyo., 10/08/2020) (Skavdahl, J.)

A district court struck down BLM's 2016 rule promulgating new regulations to reduce natural gas waste during oil and gas production activities on federal land and Indian leases. States argued that the rule exceeded BLM's statutory authority and was otherwise arbitrary and capricious. The court found that the agency exceeded its waste-preventing authority under the Mineral Leasing Act by promulgating a rule justified primarily by the ancillary benefit of a reduction in air pollution, especially when considered in light of historical context and the comprehensive regulatory structure under the CAA. It further found that BLM acted arbitrarily and capriciously by, among other things, failing to assess the rule's impact on marginal wells, failing to explain and identify support for its capture requirements, and failing to separately consider its costs and benefits. The court therefore vacated the rule.