Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2017104
 
 

Citations (1)



 


 



Risk and Response in Fracturing Policy


Hannah Jacobs Wiseman


Florida State University - College of Law

March 6, 2012

84 University of Colorado Law Review 729 (2013)
FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 594

Abstract:     
An oil and gas extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing (also called fracing, fracking, or hydrofracking) has swept the country and has raised the stakes of the energy policy debate. As operators drill thousands of new wells and inject water and chemicals down these wells in order to fracture underground shale and tight sandstone formations, concerned citizens’ groups and the media have pointed to flaming tap water and have worried about chemical contamination; at the same time, industry representatives and many state regulators have sworn that the practice has never contaminated groundwater. The outpouring of attention to injection — just one stage of a complex well development process — threatens to distract from the core issues of “tight” oil and gas development, and to leave the most pressing concerns unaddressed. Through a comparison of regulation and of alleged violations of environmental and oil and gas laws at hydraulically fractured well sites, this Article illuminates the factors that must inform policy and regulatory changes that guide modern oil and gas development. The examples of violations so far suggest that the most pressing risks may predominantly arise not from the injection of chemicals and water underground but from other stages of the well development process introduced by fracturing, and from the higher rate of well drilling spurred by fracturing. This does not suggest that fracturing itself poses no risks. Rather, we must recognize the new risks introduced by several non-injection stages essential to the fracturing process, as well as the drilling enabled by fracturing, and we must shift our attention to the most problematic stages. Chemicals may spill when transported to well sites, and more and new types of wastes must be stored and disposed of, for example. Furthermore, methane may contaminate underground water sources during the drilling process preceding fracturing. If policymakers and regulators allow drilling and fracturing to continue at their current frenzied pace, it is imperative that they change course to recognize and respond to these core risks. The analysis in this Article offers an initial path forward.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 89

Keywords: fracking, fracing, hydrofracking, hydraulic fracturing, state regulation, state enforcement, environmental law, energy law, oil and gas, risk

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: April 3, 2012 ; Last revised: January 27, 2014

Suggested Citation

Wiseman, Hannah Jacobs, Risk and Response in Fracturing Policy (March 6, 2012). 84 University of Colorado Law Review 729 (2013); FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 594. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2017104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2017104

Contact Information

Hannah Jacobs Wiseman (Contact Author)
Florida State University - College of Law ( email )
425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,162
Downloads: 560
Download Rank: 26,585
Citations:  1

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.390 seconds