White House says to defend fracking rules in the courts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday it would continue to defend in the courts its legal authority to set rules governing hydraulic fracturing on public lands.

“We happen to believe that we have a strong argument to make about the important role the federal government can play in ensuring that hydraulic fracturing that’s done on public lands doesn’t threaten the drinking water of people who live in the area,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a news briefing when asked about a judge’s decision on Tuesday to set aside certain fracking rules.

“When it comes to the legal authority at stake, we’ll continue to make our case in the courts,” Earnest said.

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Doina Chiacu