Posts by David Spence

Looking Ahead at State-Local Conflicts Over Fracking

A recent UT Energy Center Law Blog post by Samantha Blons focused on a case brought by a natural gas producer against the City of Dallas, after the city denied the company a natural gas production permit.  (A new city ordinance restricts production within the city limits.)  The Dallas case is an early example of… Full Story

The Administration Goes It Alone on Energy Policy

In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to move forward on important policy problems with or without Congress.  Since then he has issued an executive order directing the federal government to purchase more renewable electricity, and has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten mileage standards on heavy-duty trucks.  And the… Full Story

Pemex Finally Enters the Modern World?

In the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City there is a mural by the artist Diego Rivera, chronicling a history of the exploitation of Mexico by outsiders – first the conquistadors, and more recently, foreign mining and oil companies, among others.  Yet now, despite Mexicans’ deeply ingrained cultural sense of exploitation by investor-owned oil companies (IOCs),… Full Story

A War on Coal, or a War on Climate Change?

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday its plan to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants.  This is the latest salvo in what some Texans (and others) call the “war on coal.”  It is more likely a reluctant act born of political gridlock — a second-best option for a… Full Story

Psychological and Cultural Biases Distort Fracking Debates

Energy law is the product of energy politics, and politics can be emotional and contentious.  At the same time, many energy policy disputes turn on questions amenable to scientific study — the fight over acid rain in the 1980s, the long-running battle over climate change, and the current fight over hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), to name… Full Story

LNG Exports: A Good Idea?

The shale gas boom in the United States holds the prospect of inexpensive natural gas for the foreseeable future. One of the happy consequences of that fact is the redirection of investment (particularly in energy intensive industries) away from foreign countries and back toward the United States. However, natural gas prices have been volatile historically,… Full Story

Conflict over Hydraulic Fracturing: Politics vs. Policy

The policy debate over hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) in the northeastern states of the Marcellus Shale has generated much more heat than light.  It is the mirror image of the climate change debate, during which opponents of climate change turned a blind eye to climate science and the empirical evidence supporting the notion that human… Full Story