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Legal Issues in Hydraulic Fracturing - Research Paper Example

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Legal and Environmental Issues in Hydraulic Fracturing Author’s Name Institutional Affiliation Abstract In nations where hydraulic fracturing has been adopted as a method of obtaining alternative energy, there is a lot of criticism associated with it. Most have argued that there are many environmental and health problems that have resulted from the process…
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Legal Issues in Hydraulic Fracturing
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Legal Issues in Hydraulic Fracturing

This paper discusses the legal and environmental issues associated with the process and the regulations that have been put in place to ensure that the process is undertaken carefully and responsibility to counter the negative effects. Keywords: Hydraulic Fracturing, Environmental Issues, Legal Issues, Fracking, Consequences, Regulations, Laws Introduction Drillers of hydraulic fracturing have always maintained that the process is well managed as it is tightly controlled and take place far below the ground water levels but despite their assurance, there are many critics advocating for the process to be banned. As the shale revolution has gained fame, it has really triggered a lot of protesters from the Grand Rapids to Paris, as all of them call for a global frack down. For example, in the United States of America, critics worry that in embracing shale energy, there are health and environmental consequences, for example, there will be no clean air or clean water (Prud'homme, 2013). Definition of Hydraulic Fracturing Hydraulic fracturing is also known as fracking. It is a process that is used to suck oil and gas from dense shale formations. The process involves drilling, use of explosions, toxic chemicals, and millions of gallons of water pumped in at very high pressure. It allows the extraction of natural gas from shale in places that were once unreachable with conventional technologies (Prud'homme, 2013). In t6he United States, hydraulic fracturing is gaining recognition and companies involved with the process continue to identify sites to work on. Although it is argued that the process is conducted responsibly, a lot of dangerous occurrences have been reported raising questions of how safe the process is really. For example, there have been reports of blown out gas wells, polluted water sources, air and soil and affected human and animal health. Once a fracking procedure is conducted, it cannot be undone; for example, once a shale formation has fractured, it cannot be returned to its original state. This makes thorough research very crucial before any steps involved in hydraulic fracking proceed. This is especially important in highly populated regions (Prud'homme, 2013). Legal Issues that surrounds Hydraulic Fracturing Due to the process of hydraulic fracturing being used in some of the states in America, there have been legal issues that have been raised so as to ensure its effectiveness. The American court of appeals has had a debate on whether to regulate hydraulic fracturing for some time, as the SDWA has requested. The Clean Water Act requires cleanliness of all water to be maintained. Hydraulic fracturing is a water-intensive process. This is because when a well is fractured hydraulically, the fluid injected returns to the surface as flow back, which is contaminated with sand, chemical residues, and some amount of naturally occurring radioactive materials. This is usually against the CWA (Clean Water Act) section 301, which prohibits the discharge of any pollutant into navigable water. In America, anyone seeking to release or discharge flow back and any water which is not natural is usually required to apply for a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, as it is authorized by the CWA section 402 (Vann, Murrill &Tiemann, 2013). As hydraulic fractur ... Read More
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