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Hydraulic Fracturing in Texas: The Changing Legal Landscape

An oil and gas extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing has dominated media reports as discoveries about the impacts of this technology have continued to emerge.  Last month, the International Energy Agency declared that the United States was experiencing a “renaissance” in energy, largely due to drilling and fracturing in unconventional formations; indeed, the Agency believes that… Full Story

Fracking and Seismic Risks

With explorers and producers looking to expand their operations in the Monterey Shale, in quake-prone California, even more attention is likely to be put on the uncertain seismic impacts of hydraulic fracturing and the proper way to regulate against harmful ground movements. In recent years, as fracking has become more common, seismologists have recorded a significant… Full Story

Supreme Court to Consider Oklahoma Restrictions on Water Exports

The Supreme Court has agreed to review a Tenth Circuit opinion holding that Oklahoma water embargo statutes do not violate the Commerce Clause or the Red River Compact. The case will be the first in more than a quarter-century that the Court has heard regarding protectionist water policies.  The outcome will shape the water future of the… Full Story

Alaska Fracking Regulations Raise Bar for Disclosure Requirements

Alaska has issued proposed fracking regulations that would require drillers to disclose the chemical composition of pumping fluids and would offer no trade secret protection for that information. Disclosure requirements have been a focal point in the ongoing struggle between industry and environmental and community groups over fracking.  The regulations that have been adopted in other states have largely given cover to proprietary… Full Story

Should States or Cities Regulate Fracking: Colorado the Latest State to Confront the Issue

As fracking has moved into densely populated areas, increasing numbers of local governments have imposed restrictions and, in the process, come into conflict with state governments that believe the practice is theirs to regulate. Local governments contend their land use authority entitles them to restrict or even ban fracking.  State governments counter that their police… Full Story

Incentives for Wind Energy and the Fiscal Cliff

The fiscal cliff bodes ill for the U.S. wind industry.  Along with many other tax-rate cuts, deductions and credits, the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy expires at the end of 2012 and, to compound the fiscal pressure, critics and competitors are contending that wind is a mature industry that does not need further subsides. In the past… Full Story

How Green is Wind Energy?

As Congress considers whether to extend the production tax credit for wind energy in the context of “fiscal cliff” negotiations, environmentalists are lobbying vigorously, arguing that the PTC creates green jobs and supports strong communities.  A casual observer might conclude that enviros are always in favor of wind development, because wind produces electricity with no air pollution and does not… Full Story

Regional Conservation for Endangered Species: Success in Texas

On May 2, 1996 in Austin, Texas, Nancy Kaufman, the regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, signed the permit that created the first urban habitat conservation plan in the United States.  The Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (BCCP) was the product of a decade of negotiations among environmentalists, biologists, developers, business interests, and government officials…. Full Story

D.C. Circuit Interprets Incentives for Natural Gas Storage Operators

The D.C. Circuit recently rejected an appeal that would have significantly expanded an incentive intended to spur the development of additional gas storage capacity.  The decision upholds a FERC interpretation and soundly preserves the contours of what was already a potentially generous exception to market regulation. The Nebraska-based Northern Natural Gas Company had appealed a 2010 FERC interpretation of… Full Story