Curriculum Guide · Courses
Energy and Environment Seminar: Hydraulic Fracturing
Professor Robert Sussman
J.D. Seminar 1290 (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours
This seminar will examine the many policy and legal implications of the explosive growth of hydraulic fracturing, which has dramatically increased U.S. oil and gas production through the application of new drilling technology. As a foundation for this examination, the seminar will begin with the nuts-and-bolts of fracturing technology, how it differs from conventional production methods and what environmental impacts it can cause. The seminar will then focus on how fracturing is reshaping the U.S. energy production map and affecting energy prices and markets domestically and internationally. The seminar will then address a set of case studies that bring into focus key areas of legal and policy debate. Areas to be covered include: Is the science sufficient for policymakers to make thoughtful decisions to authorize or ban fracturing? What should the federal and state roles be in regulating fracturing and how much authority to control fracturing exists at the federal and state levels? Should individual cities and towns be allowed to ban fracturing or should that decision be made by states for all their communities? Is increased production of natural gas due to fracturing a positive or negative development from the perspective of addressing the global warming threat? Students will be assigned roles in the policy/legal process and asked to prepare mock submissions to courts, agencies and legislative bodies.
Prerequisite: Prior enrollment in at least one of the following courses: Environmental Law or Energy Problems Seminar: Climate Change and Other Energy Issues or Economic Regulation of Energy.