Law and Policy of Drilling and Fracturing for Fossil Fuels (1 credit)
This course will describe the process of extracting natural gas and oil from shale and tight sands formations using the techniques of horizontal drilling and slickwater hydraulic fracturing—processes that have caused a rapid expansion of domestic oil and gas production. We will explore the potential environmental and social effects of these practices as identified through lawsuits, scientific and legal literature, and by state enforcement of regulations at hydraulically fractured well sites; the local, state, regional, and federal statutes, regulations, and/or industry standards, best management practices, and common law principles that address these effects; and the policy debates surrounding effective regulation of shale gas and oil development. Professor Wiseman will teach the class through an informal discussion format. She will assign readings from Blackboard and/or hard-copy handouts (not a textbook) and will expect students to come to class prepared to participate extensively in discussion. Students each will write a paper using the materials assigned for class as sources and will submit this paper at the end of the course; students’ performance in class will be graded on the basis of this paper and their participation. Students will be able to independently propose paper topics that most interest them. Due to the nature and length of the paper required, this course will not satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Prerequisites: None.