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Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
118 F.3d 1467 (11th Cir. 1997)


Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 300h to 300h-8, underground injections of fluids were prohibited unless the operator received a permit. All underground injections were regulated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) determined that the Act did not apply to hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking), a process under which fluids and sand were injected into a coal bed to stimulate production, because hydrofracking wells were primarily used for gas production as opposed to an injection-related purpose. The EPA approved the State of Alabama’s underground-injection control (UIC) program, which did not regulate hydrofracking. The Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc. (LEAF) (plaintiff) filed a petition with the EPA to withdraw approval of the Alabama UIC program. The EPA issued an order denying LEAF’s petition. LEAF petitioned for review of the EPA’s order.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Birch, J.)

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