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Hydraulic Fracturing: Risks in Water Quality and Supply

OnDemand Webinar (88 minutes)

With the United States having an estimated 100 years' worth of undeveloped gas reserves, the exploration for and the extraction of natural gas from shale formations throughout the United States have taken the forefront in the oil and gas industry, but not without some controversy. There is great controversy and concern over the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling as well as the chemicals used to extract gas from shale formations. Environmental and safety concerns about water sources and usage, what chemicals are used in the fracking process, contamination of groundwater, aquifers and water wells, and what to do with the flowback fluids after the fracking process are among the many issues being hotly debated by oil and gas operators, government agencies, and state and federal legislatures. Pending litigation filed by landowners, environmental groups, government agencies, and industry associations; recent laws and regulations imposing additional oversight, disclosure of chemicals, and operational requirements on oil and gas producers; and the numerous, recent fracking studies made by universities, industry producers, and state and federal agencies all impact the exploration and extraction of natural gas from U.S. shale plays. This on-demand webinar will explain the hydraulic fracturing process, how hydraulic fracturing affects water resources, and how to effectively advocate for your clients. This program is for legal professionals and operators, drillers, and vendors in the oil and gas industry who are interested in the most up-to-date and relevant information relating to hydraulic fracturing and its alleged impact on water resources.

Learning Objectives:

  • You will be able to discuss the importance of shale natural gas to the economy.
  • You will be able to explain regulation of hydraulic fracturing.
  • You will be able to review litigation involving hydraulic fracturing.
  • You will be able to discuss disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids.


Barclay R. Nicholson, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.



• Importance of Shale Natural Gas to the Economy

• Shale Plays in the U.S.

• What Is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing

• Water Cycle in Hydraulic Fracturing

- Sources of Water

- Disposal of Flowback

• Federal Government

- Energy Policy Act of 2005

- Clean Water Act

- Safe Drinking Water Act

- National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

- Department of Energy's Shale Gas Production Subcommittee Studies

- Department of Interior - Bureau of Land Management's Proposed Rules for Shale Gas Production and Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands

• Environmental Protection Agency

- Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources

- Pavillion, Wyoming Water Studies

- Dimock, Pennsylvania Water Tests

- Permitting Guidance for Using Diesel Fuel in Hydraulic Fracturing

• Congress - The FRAC Act

• State vs. Local Regulation

Studies and Research

• Pennsylvania State University's Water Studies

• Duke University's Water Studies

• ASTM Study

• Tom Myers' Research re Fracking Chemicals Migrating Upward to Aquifers and Pennsylvania Geologists' Rebuttal Report

Litigation Involving Hydraulic Fracturing

• Overview of Lawsuits, Plaintiffs and Causes of Action

• Lawsuits Filed by Landowners and Others Living in Proximity to Hydraulic Fracturing Activities - Discussion of Cases Filed in Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, Arkansas and Other Locations

• Lawsuits Filed by States, Industry Associations and Environmental Groups

Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids - State Regulations