This case involves how much Federal control over land deeded by the Feds to a State the Feds retain when they make the deed. In the particular case, the Feds, ‘way back in 1949, deeded land to Ohio (in particular, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District) subject to the criteria that the land had to be used for flood control, conservation, and recreation. Lately, Ohio began allowing fracking under the land.
“Environmentalists” objected and sued to try to force the land back into Federal hands. The relevant Federal district court dismissed the suit, and it wound up in the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth waived the BS Flag at the suit. Although much of the Court’s ruling was based on a technicality (the suit was brought as a violation of the False Claims Act perpetrated by Ohio for allowing the fracking; the Court demurred), there is another reason to applaud the outcome.
In ruling that there was no violation of the FCA, the Court also said in part,
neither the relators’ [the “environmentalists”] complaint nor their proposed amended complaint includes facts that show how MWCD would have known that the fracking leases violated the deed restrictions or how MWCD “act[ed] in deliberate ignorance” or in “reckless disregard” of that fact.
Indeed, fracking occurs well underground and so well away from any activities related to flood control, conservation, and recreation, which are surface or near-surface activities. Thus, since fracking does not interfere with or otherwise impact such activities, it cannot violate deed restrictions that involve strictly those activities.
This was just a naked attempt by these relators to prevent us from getting cheap energy out of the deep earth cheaply.
The Sixth Circuit’s ruling can be seen here.
h/t Institute for Justice