Scott W. Skavdahl

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Scott Wesley Skavdahl
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming
Assumed office
November 7, 2011
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by William F. Downes
Personal details
Born Scott Wesley Skavdahl
1966 (age 50–51)
Lincoln, Nebraska
Education University of Wyoming B.S.
University of Wyoming College of Law J.D.

Scott Wesley Skavdahl (born 1966) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming.


Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, graduating high school at Sioux County High School, Skavdahl received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1989 from the University of Wyoming. He received his Juris Doctor in 1992 from the University of Wyoming College of Law. At the University of Wyoming, Skavdahl was an active member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Skavdahl worked as a litigation associate at Brown & Drew (now Brown, Drew & Massey) from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to 1997, Skavdahl served as a judicial law clerk to Chief Judge William F. Downes of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. From 1997 to 2003 Skavdahl worked at the law firm of Williams, Porter, Day & Neville. From 2001 to 2003 he worked as a part-time federal magistrate judge. In 2003 Skavdahl became a judge on the Seventh Judicial District Court, in Casper, Wyoming upon appointment by Governor Dave Freudenthal. On January 31, 2011 Skavdahl left the state bench to once more become a full-time federal magistrate judge.[1][2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

In November 2010, Governor Dave Freudenthal recommended Skavdahl to fill the Wyoming vacancy that was to be created when Judge William F. Downes retired on July 24, 2011.[3] On February 16, 2011, President Barack Obama formally nominated Skavdahl.[4] On September 8, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported his nomination to the Senate floor by voice vote. On November 3, 2011, the Senate voted 96–0 to confirm Skavdahl.[5] He received his commission on November 7, 2011.[2]

Notable case[edit]

In a June 21, 2016, decision, Skavdahl held that Congress did not authorize the Bureau of Land Management to regulate hydraulic fracturing. The BLM’s “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands; Final Rule” (43 CFR Part 3160) sought to set standards for wellbore construction, chemical disclosure, and water management for hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands. He rejected the BLM’s reliance on longstanding land management statutes as authorizing the rule. Instead, he looked to the statute that regulated hydraulic fracturing in its 2005 Energy Policy Act. There, Congress deprived the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) except when diesel fuels are used.The court reasoned that Congress had not indirectly conferred far broader authority on the BLM via general land management statutes than it had given directly on the EPA.[6]


  1. ^ "Skavdahl to become magistrate judge". Billings Gazette. September 24, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Skavdahl, Scott Wesley - Federal Judicial Center". 
  3. ^ "Freudenthal nominates 3 for judgeship". Billings Gazette. November 4, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Office of the Press Secretary, White House (February 16, 2011). "President Obama Names Two to the United States District Court, 2/16/2011". White House. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Federal Judge Strikes Down Obama Administration's Fracking Rules, National Public Radio, Camila Domonoske, June 22, 2016. Retrieved 25, 2016.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William F. Downes
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming