Monday, June 01, 2015
If you have been paying attention to the news this past week, and have an interest in domestic energy policy, you will probably have heard: In Texas, municipal fracking bans are now prohibited. On May 18, 2015, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, which his office says will ensure that Texas landowners are protected against “the heavy hand of local regulation.” While not entirely surprising, HB 40 is a strange message to Texas residents. It is an incursion of the state government into local affairs, an overreach that Gov. Abbot is generally all too quick to condemn when the federal government inserts itself into Texan affairs, even when it results from an established congressional mandate.
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.