Addressing the Local Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing
In the evolving debate about unconventional oil and gas extraction or "fracking", the question of how municipal authorities can manage the local land use impacts of the practice is largely ignored. The federal government has limited jurisdiction to regulate gas exploration, while state agencies are authorized to regulate hydrofracking operations. In the exercise of their separate authority, neither the federal nor the state government creates and enforces standards that protect against potential adverse local impacts of the type normally mitigated by municipal zoning and land use authority. Some states prohibit local control of hydrofacking’s local impacts and where local power exists, many municipalities fail to regulate because of the complexity of the issues involved and the absence of model plans and regulations. If municipal leaders are provided with sound, balanced, and responsible practices for mitigating local land use impacts, they are more likely to act responsibility, preventing serious environmental damage and the adverse public and political reaction that such damage generates.
Therefore, with support from the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School and the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School are working together to help local governments address the local impacts of fracking. Together, we are engaging industry representatives, regulators, scientists, and local leaders in a process of identifying unprotected local impacts and developing sound local regulatory and non-regulatory practices that localities can adopt in lieu of prohibiting hydrofracking or permitting it without safeguard.
This project began in December 2013 with a workshop and panel dedicated to exploring the gaps in fracking governance. Please see the bottom of this page for archived information related to the 2013 workshop and for project updates.
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March 28th Workshop Materials