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Authors

Vince Villio

Abstract

"Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has taken the nation’s political soapbox by storm in the last decade, despite being in practice since the mid-20th century. The recent surge of debate comes from an increasing amount of states passing regulatory schemes for when fracking is used in the extraction of natural gas and other energy producing materials. The regulation of energy extraction has been and continues to be a state issue rather than federal. One of the major concerns of the energy industry with new regulation is the increasing demand for disclosure of the chemicals and processes used in fracking, something the industry considers to be protected as trade secrets. The regulating states (and many citizens) have advocated the disclosure of chemicals based upon the belief that these chemicals taint groundwater and create other environmental hazards. This topic has seen excessive debate since its arrival to the forefront of the nation’s attention, but the future of the regulatory process continues to be in a state of flux. This paper evaluates the claims of both sides in order to answer a broader policy question: who should win. More specifically, what is more important in the current political landscape: state sovereignty, the environment, or a self-sustaining energy industry. This Note argues that recent legislation in California and a proposed bill in Alaska, the increasing demand for a self-sustaining oil industry and the nature of the industry itself, lack of comprehensive schemes of environmental protection enforcement, and the inconsistency of state law, demand and require a federal regulatory overhaul of the industry."

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