June 03, 2013 Articles

History and Current Status of Federal Fracing Regulation

In part, the LEAF decisions initiated a governmental reaction that has led to numerous studies, legislative fixes, and administrative regulations over the past 10 years.

By Bruce M. Kramer – June 3, 2013

The federal government has been involved in various legislative and administrative matters relating to hydraulic fracturing (fracing) operations for over a decade. Litigation relating to fracing for coalbed methane (CBM) gas, which was not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, led to two appellate court decisions that seemingly required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate such operations. Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 118 F.3d 1467 (11th Cir. 1997) [LEAF I]; Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 276 F.3d 1253 (11th Cir. 2001), reh'g en banc denied, 34 Fed. Appx. 392 (11th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 989, 123 S.Ct. 475, 154 L.Ed.2d 358 (2002) [LEAF II]. In part, the LEAF decisions initiated a governmental reaction that has led to numerous studies, legislative fixes, and administrative regulations over the past 10 years.


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