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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. A second workshop followed in March 2014. Please see the bottom of this page for archived information related to both workshops and for project updates.

Please contact localgasimpacts@yale.edu with any questions.

Read the project update blog for more information. Or our blog on a recent fracking study in the journal Science. Or our most recent blog on local preemption in Texas.

March 28th Workshop Materials

-Draft white paper

-Workshop memorandum

-Workshop agenda

December 2013 Workshop and Panel

-Background material from Professor John Nolon of Pace Law School and Resources for the Future

-Presentation of Nathan Richardson, Resources for the Future

-Presentation of Mark Boling, President of V+ Development Solutions

-Presentation of Stephen Ross, Santa Fe, New Mexico, County Attorney

-Video of the full panel

Other Resources

-A video interview with Professor John Nolon conducted by Eric Ellman of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute

-Example Ordinances

-Impact Lists

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