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The States' Legal Framework: Texas/Louisiana Region: American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing

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Title: The States' Legal Framework: Texas/Louisiana Region: American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing
Author: Kulander, Christopher
Abstract: In the past decade, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked oil and natural gas deposits in deep shale formations around the country. Hydraulic fracturing is generally viewed as a completion technique that is a practical necessity to promote development of unconventional "tight" shale reservoirs, particularly gas-shale. Hydraulic fracturing entails treating water, oil, or gas wells to stimulate more production than otherwise would have been achieved using standard drilling and production techniques. This report deals with hydraulic fracturing and the legal and technical issues associated with it. This report first covers what hydraulic fracturing is and why it is done. It identifies the current location of the largest shale fields where hydraulic fracturing is common and the effect of hydraulic fracturing on domestic production. It then covers the environmental issues, focusing on the anecdotal and evidentiary call and response among environmental groups, regulators, landowners, and producers. It then discusses how traditional oil and gas jurisprudence impacts hydraulic fracturing, emphasizing both surface versus mineral estate issues and disputes that arise between two adjoining mineral owners. This report addresses developments in technology and processes that promise to reduce the environmental footprint of the hydraulic fracturing while promoting its efficiencies and economies. In several instances, this report describes recent state-level legislation and associated regulations, as well as bills under consideration, and important opinions from state courts. Finally, this report analyzes the current and contemplated laws and regulations governing hydraulic fracturing on the federal level. In particular, it discusses the history of the litigation and legislative efforts challenging the current federal exception enjoyed by hydraulic fracturing. It also highlights the friction between state and federal oversight.
Description: Co-authored by Thomas E. Kurth, Michael J. Mazzone, and Mary S. Mendoza
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10601/1912
Date: 2011

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