The Interior Department under President Donald Trump is planning to revoke a rule that would have regulated fracking on federal lands, according to the administration’s Wednesday court filing (pdf).

“This is a political decision intended to circumvent the rule of law and deliver a gift to the oil and gas industry at the expense of public safety.”
—Mike Freeman, EarthjusticeThe move is the climate change-denying administration’s latest effort to undo fossil fuel regulations and boost the profits of the oil and gas industry.

While the 2015 rule was criticized at the time by environmentalists for not going far enough to limit fracking in the U.S., it was blocked by a Wyoming federal court in 2016 when the judge decided that the federal government didn’t have the authority to regulate fracking. The rule would have been the first to limit fracking on public and tribal lands.

Currently, 90 percent of oil wells on public lands are fracked, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

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The Trump administration’s move provoked immediate outrage.

“This is a political decision intended to circumvent the rule of law and deliver a gift to the oil and gas industry at the expense of public safety,” Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman told E&E News. “What the Trump administration wants is to go back to using outdated 30-year-old regulations that BLM itself recognizes failed to address threats to public health from modern fracking.”

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