Understanding and Improving Regulation of Shale Gas Development
The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy invites you to participate in our second annual policy workshop webinar series, Emerging Issues in Shale Gas Development. Natural gas extraction generally, and shale gas extraction in particular, have become highly charged issues as stakeholders debate their effects on environmental and public health and their role in our future energy mix. This webinar series seeks to answer important questions about extraction, the environment, and the future of energy by grounding that debate with expert speakers from a variety of disciplines.
As gas development has expanded, so, too, have questions about the adequacy of its associated legal regime. Answers to these questions are complex: local, state, regional, and federal laws apply to various development stages, and the common law also plays an important role. In the third installment of our series, Professor Hannah Wiseman will explore this web of laws and how it addresses risk concerns.
The recording is available here: http://vimeo.com/55073609
Presentation Abstract: As gas development from shale and tight sandstone formations has rapidly expanded, so, too, have questions about the adequacy of its associated legal regime. Answers to these questions are complex: local, state, regional, and federal laws apply to various development stages, and the common law also plays an important role. This presentation will explore this web of laws and how it addresses risk concerns. It will identify potential risks at each well development stage by noting recent oil and gas and environmental law violations at well sites. It will then describe the laws that apply to each stage, and how regulatory content has recently changed (if at all). Many governments and courts have demonstrated impressive flexibility as they have responded to skyrocketing well numbers; others have lagged.
The primary gaps appear to be in the areas of well construction, water testing, pit and tank maintenance, and waste handling and disposal. Having noted these gaps, the presentation will briefly explore how regulation should potentially change—and who should be responsible for this change. Imposing broad federal laws will not always be the best answer, though we likely need more federal involvement in some areas. Nor is broad preemption of local authority likely advisable, though some consistency is important both for industry and the affected public. Agency expertise and capacity, the closeness of regulators to the regulated activity, the breadth of environmental effects, and variation among local conditions all should influence decisions about the best level of regulatory control.
About the Speaker: Hannah Wiseman, an assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Law, researches governance challenges at the intersection of energy, environmental law, and land use. She has explored these issues in the shale gas context since 2008, when she was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Law. Her work has surveyed and compared the content of regulations in more than sixteen states that host shale oil and gas activity or soon will; she also has collected and begun to analyze enforcement data from well sites around the country. Her forthcoming papers in this area are theoretical, asking why agencies often fail to recognize that changes in scale, as opposed to technology, should trigger regulatory response, and whether states actually serve as regulatory laboratories.
About the Series: Hosted and sponsored by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, our second annual webinar series highlights emerging issues in shale gas development. The series is publicly available online and promoted to both domestic and international academic and policy communities, including governmental officials, think tank analysts, climate change advocates, professors, and students. The webinar format enables interested parties to access and participate in these presentations from anywhere in the world. The series is free and open to the public. To register for the online event:
1. Go to https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/870672735
2. Click "Register."
3. On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit."
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