The Trump administration reportedly plans to rescind a rule that requires fracking companies to disclose the chemicals used in their drilling operations.
The rule, which applied to oil and gas companies conducting fracking operations on federal lands, also mandated meeting standards for well construction and proper disposal of contaminated water.
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, utilizes highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals to crack shale rock and access oil or natural gas contained within. The process helped fuel a domestic energy boom but drew opposition from environmental advocates and nearby residents worried about potential spills, pollution or even earthquakes.
The measure was promptly challenged in court by industry groups and put on hold by a federal judge in Wyoming.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the White House would withdraw from the legal challenge, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confirmed to the AP that the agency planned to submit a new rule.
Industry groups argued that the early 2015 rule — the first federal regulations of fracking — were duplicative of state regulations and could stifle future production and jobs.
"Every energy-producing area has different needs and requirements, which is why the states are far more effective at regulating hydraulic fracturing than the federal government," said Independent Petroleum Association spokesman Neal Kirby.
Environmental groups — who were skeptical of the rule in the first place — defended the disclosure requirement this week.
Center for Biological Diversity attorney Michael Saul called the Trump administration's decision "disturbing," particularly "given the administration's reckless plans to ramp up fracking and drilling on public lands across America."