WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is rolling back an Obama administration rule requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
The administration said in court papers Wednesday that it is withdrawing from a lawsuit challenging the Obama-era rule and will begin a new rule-making process later this year.
The Interior Department issued the rule in March 2015, the first major federal regulation of fracking, the controversial drilling technique that has sparked an ongoing boom in natural gas production but raised widespread concerns about possible groundwater contamination and even earthquakes.
The rule has been on hold since last year after a judge in Wyoming ruled that federal regulators lack congressional authority to set rules for fracking.
A spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confirmed the administration’s intent to submit a new rule but did not add further comment late Wednesday.
Zinke took office March 1 and has promised to review a slew of department rules and policies.