On June 18, 2015, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management challenging the final rule governing hydraulic fracturing, on Federal and Indian lands. The rule was published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2015, and will become effective on June 24, 2015.
In its claim, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe contends that the BLM’s final rule and its variance provisions are in conflict with the Indian Tribes’ legal rights of self-determination and self-governance under the Indian Mineral Leasing Act, the Indian Mineral Development Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The variance provisions specify that states and Indian Tribes may obtain a variance from the BLM’s requirements provided that the state or tribal regulations meet or exceed the federal standards. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe alleges that BLM “unlawfully, arbitrarily and unreasonably” interferes with the Tribe’s authority to manage their lands under the Indian Mineral Leasing Act and the Indian Mineral Development Act, superseding BLM regulations.
The case remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, at docket number: 1:15-cv-01303-JLK.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow