Friday, May 29, 2015
Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a law that prohibits local governments from banning hydraulic fracturing within their borders. The new law also limits the ability of local governments to regulate other aspects of fracking, such as drilling location. This new policy is not a complete surprise. In fall 2014, voters in Denton, Texas approved a city-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing. The first such ban in Texas, it caused a storm of criticism and new attention to the role of local governments in managing fracking.
While not surprising, the newly enacted state-wide ban on bans is a major departure from Texas tradition.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Over the past year I have been working on a project to define the local impacts of hydraulic fracturing and to develop frameworks for governing these impacts at the local level. The premise of this project is simple: federal and state law do not, and are not meant to, address uniquely local impacts from the hydraulic fracturing "boom." Along with my collaborators, John Nolon and Jessica Bacher from the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School, and a brilliant team of students from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Law School, we have identified dozens of these local impacts, including traffic and road degradation, noise and visual blight, stress on public services, and loss of farmland or recreational space. A new study published today in Science is a reminder that some of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing scale from local to national in scope and that the criticality of local governance does not undercut the importance of cooperative governance with federal and state policymakers.
Monday, March 30, 2015
On February 28, 2015, students, faculty, community leaders, businesspeople, and government officials alike gathered at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for the 5th annual New Directions in Environmental Law Conference: Harnessing Momentum.
Monday, March 09, 2015
As part of a major restructuring of the country’s legal framework, in 2008 Ecuador adopted a new Constitution by means of a national referendum. The 2008 Constitution – the country’s 20th – had a special component that made it different from any other constitution worldwide: it was the first Constitution to grant essential rights to Nature.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The shale boom has stirred deep controversy across the United States. With vast domestic deposits of natural gas and tight oil now both geologically and economically accessible, many stakeholders, from developers to landowners, are seeking to gain. But others are sounding alarms over contaminated wells, methane flares, and toxic spills. Federal and state authorities, with slow regulatory responses and minimal stake in local impacts, are often leaving local governments to navigate this controversy – and the many impacts of “fracking” – with constrained budgets and limited capacity.