Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing (John Marshall Law Review)

Callies, David L.
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John Marshall Law Review
The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that the U.S. has over 2,214 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas reserves.1 By 2020, the EIA projects that shale gas will comprise over 20% of the total U.S. gas supply.2 Thus, the "hydraulic fracturing (fracking)" process has been touted in the U.S. as the key to a clean energy future and ending dependence on foreign oil. 3 Hydraulic fracturing is a process whereby fracturing fluids-a combination of sand, water and chemical additives-are pumped into wells under high pressure to generate fractures in underground formations. 4 Recent technological advancements in hydraulic fracturing have enabled the oil and gas industry to extract "shale gas" natural gas produced from hydrocarbon-rich shale formations. 5 Despite the potential benefits of fracking, many have raised concerns about the impact of fracking on underground water resources, public health, and other environmental effects in the locale of these shale gas extraction facilities. 6 The sudden pervasiveness of fracking, in conjunction with communities and environmentalists' concerns, has raised the issue of who regulates fracking. 7 Because fracking is not regulated under federal law, legal battles ensued between state and local governments over who has the power to regulate fracking. A patchwork of regulations evolved in various states across the nation as legislators and municipalities struggled to cope with the competing concerns of environmentalists and the oil and gas industry.
Callies, D. (2015). Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing. John Marshall Law Review 49(2), 271-314.
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