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Creating a Legal Framework for Regulation of Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale Formation

27 Pages Posted: 27 May 2009 Last revised: 14 Apr 2015

Laura C. Reeder

William & Mary Law School

Date Written: May 19, 2009


Recent technological innovations have enabled oil and gas companies to extract natural gas from shale formations that were not viewed as viable sources in the past. One such formation, known as the Marcellus Shale formation, stretches across various eastern states, and is raising legal questions in areas where various regulatory levels coincide. These issues are arising as municipalities, states, and even larger regulatory bodies seek to balance the concerns of the many parties who are interested in natural gas extraction.

Part I of the note explains the technology that has made natural gas extraction from shale formations a viable option. Part II addresses the concerns that property owners may have in connection with extraction. Part III discusses the pollution that can result from development of a shale play. Part IV examines, as an example, the laws and regulations that currently affect extraction of mineral resources in the state of Pennsylvania and, in addition, discusses laws and regulations that affect multiple states. Part V proposes that Congress and the Marcellus Shale states work together to create a Marcellus Shale Compact Commission, which would help to eliminate some of the obstacles experienced by regulators and legislators as they seek to both maximize the potential of the Marcellus Shale play and minimize any negative environmental effects of extraction.

Keywords: Marcellus Shale, shale extraction, natural gas extractions, drilling, extraction regulation, drilling regulation, Marcellus Shale Compact Commission, oil, gas, pennsylvania

Suggested Citation

Reeder, Laura C., Creating a Legal Framework for Regulation of Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale Formation (May 19, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Laura C. Reeder (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

Williamsburg, VA
United States

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