In an article about the recent historic vote to ban fracking in the college town of Denton – and industry’s lightening-fast response (barely 13 hours after the polls closed on Nov. 4, oil and gas lawyers were in court, suing the town), Inside Climate News quoted Professor Tom McGarity on other cities that might be thinking of enacting similar kinds of legislation. Professor McGarity observed that “If you try to do something like this you’re going to get sued, too.”
News Types: Media Coverage
The Forth Worth Business Press quoted Professor David Spence in a November 5 article about the Denton vote to reject the controversial drilling technique known as fracking. According to Professor Spence, “If anti-fracking initiatives ‘continue to proliferate, then companies lose access to those resources.’”
Cities in Texas, California, and Ohio had initiatives on the ballot this fall to ban or restrict hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the controversial production technique for extracting oil and gas from shale. Professor David Spence has studied these local ordinances (of which there are more than 400 in existence nationwide), and was quoted in coverage of the issue by the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, and Bloomberg News this election season. Prof. Spence’s article analyzing the legal issues triggered by local fracking bans will be published in the Texas Law Review later this year.
Professor David Spence was quoted recently in a Houston Chronicle article about a local referendum on the drilling technique that could have national significance. According to the article, “If passed, the proposition would be the first to completely ban the petroleum extraction technique known as hydraulic fracking in one small corner of the great oil and gas boom sate of Texas . . . If the proposal becomes law, both sides expect litigation of epic proportions. Untested legal questions include whether the ban would conflict with the state’s powers to regulate oil and gas extraction.” Spence said, “If it goes down that road . . . that will effectively kills these bans, because no local government can afford to pay those claims.”
In an article about the conflict between energy production and environmental protection, UT Law: The Magazine of the University of Texas School of Law (Fall 2014, Volume 13) quoted Professors Jeff Civins, Tom McGarity, and Melinda Taylor, the Energy Center’s executive director, on how energy production and environmental protection are looking for a balance.
Read a PDF version of the article.
In an article about why lower crude oil prices are good for the oil industry, the Houston Chronicle quoted Professor David Spence on how despite recent sustained prices of $100 a barrel, prices are still high. According to Spence, “I think for the major produces, there are precious few projects of theirs that can’t produce at $80 oil. The lower-cost wells are still going to have a healthy profit margin.”
Professor Wendy Wagner was quoted recently in a Yale Daily News article about a two-day conference on October 18-19, 2014 at the Yale Law School that brought together law and public health. The conference, which was entitled “Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment,” focused on the constitutionality of the Food and Drug Administration. Legal and public health experts also discussed “the extent to which scientific research, as currently conducted, is democratic.” According to Professor Wagner, “it is hard to quantify how pervasive commercial suppression of scientific results is.” “Some findings,” she observed, “are delayed or not reported at all because of legal barriers to free speech.” “Some scholars have avoided entering certain controversial fields of inquiry altogether”, she added.
In an article about a 2010 proposal by an environmental group to list the spot-tailed earless lizard as a federally protected species that is hanging in limbo, the San Antonio Express-News quoted Energy Center Executive Director Melinda Taylor on the rare lizard’s habitat, which likely includes large swaths of the Eagle Ford Share, the prolific oil and gas field south of San Antonio.
Professor Tom McGarity was quoted recently in an Inside Climate News article about the $2.9 million fracking verdict against Aruba Petroleum, which has survived another challenge. According to the story, “Judge Mark Greenberg has denied a motion by Aruba Petroleum for a new trial, letting stand the $2.9 million jury award to Lisa and Bob Parr who sued the company after gas and oil wells surrounded their once rural ranch south of Dallas.” Aruba says it will appeal. Professor McGarity isn’t surprised Aruba lost it’s motion for a new trial, observing that “‘The defendants presented a collection of things that they claimed were prejudicial and the judge said ‘No. I think there has been a fair trial here.’” McGarity also believes “the case will ultimately end up in the Texas Supreme Court … because [it] could be used to help determine future claims involving air emissions from the oil and gas industry.” “I think this case is viewed as a test case for lots of companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing,” McGarity added.
In an article about Texas’ two-year statue of limitations that says people have just two years from the time they notice a problem until the file a lawsuit, InsideClimate News quoted Professor Tom McGarity on how “If a plaintiff waits too long they will be barred by the statutes from brining a cause of action,” adding that “So to that degree it works in the defendants’ favor.”