A federal judge in Casper will hear up to three hours of testimony on Tuesday from attorneys for three states and two petroleum industry groups petitioning to block new rules for oil and gas drilling that are set to go into effect on Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl also will hear a like amount of time from attorneys for the U.S. Department of the Interior, its Bureau of Land Management, and six environmental groups that maintain the rules governing hydraulic fracturing are appropriate and should be put into effect on schedule.

The petitioners are Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. North Dakota and the Ute Indian Tribe are intervenor petitioners. The Wyoming County Commissioners Association has filed a friend-of-the-court brief for the petitioners.

They claim the federal rules about hydraulic fracturing duplicate state rules and will be burdensome for the oil and gas industry. By interfering with the industry, the rules will cause losses in production and the taxes they pay to the states and counties.

However, the Department of Interior asserts the BLM has the authority to manage its lands. The rules don't infringe on the states' abilities to regulate hydraulic fracturing. Nor to they pose any economic harm as speculated by the Wyoming County Commissioners Association.

The federal government is supported by six environmental groups: the Sierra Club, Earthworks, Western Resource Advocates, the Wilderness Society, Conservation Colorado Education Fund, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.