Federal District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl had already decided to temporarily stay the Interior Department rule while he waits for more information from the government and weighs an oil industry request for a longer-term injunction blocking the drilling mandates.
The Bureau of Land Management’s announcement that it would be proposing changes — and inviting public comment on the scope of them — marks the first major effort in decades to update onshore royalty rates that are among the lowest in the world.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Wyoming also claims the U.S. Bureau of Land Management overstepped its statutory jurisdiction with the rules and that they conflict with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Although the rule only applies to development on public and tribal lands — where there are more than 100,000 oil and gas wells today — environmentalists have argued that tough federal protections could provide inspiration for state regulators.
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