Minnesota Law Review

Moving Past Preemption: Enhancing the Power of Local Governments over Hydraulic Fracturing

Technological improvements to a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing have opened up access to a century’s supply of natural gas across the United States. The cities and towns that sit above these vast deposits, however, are increasingly concerned about the transformative effect of the fracking industry on their communities. In the absence of federal regulations, state and local governments have the primary regulatory authority over fracking, but state governments have sought to preempt most or all of the traditional power of local governments over land use. This Note reviews the legal disputes that have arisen in Pennsylvania, New York and Colorado regarding the effect of state preemption on local control. In addition, it reviews the ineffective attempts of Colorado and the Delaware River Basin Commission to encourage cooperation between multiple levels of government in the regulatory process. This analysis ultimately shows that local governments are increasingly powerless to prevent or slow the spread of fracking in their communities.

This Note argues that local governments are in the best position to understand the unique effects of industrial activities like fracking on their communities, and that therefore their knowledge should be utilized in the creation of regulations. This Note proposes that states create new agencies with regulatory authority over fracking that bring together state and local representatives to create new regulations to govern fracking. These organizations would allow local government representatives to have an official and meaningful voice in the creation of regulations to help ensure the protection of the environment and character of local communities.

:: View PDF

News & Events

  • Fall Submissions Open – Headnotes

    The Minnesota Law Review: Headnotes fall submissions period is open. For more information, please visit our submissions page. Share this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+

  • Vol. 97 Piece Quoted in Mother Jones Article

    A recent Mother Jones article predicting how the Roberts Court would resolve King v. Burwell draws on How Business Fares in the Supreme Court from Volume 97. You can read the article here. Share this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+

  • Welcome to De Novo

    For nearly one hundred years, the Minnesota Law Review has been a leader amongst academic legal publications. When Professor Henry J. Fletcher launched the journal in 1917, his goal was simple. It was to “contribute a little something to the systematic growth of the whole law.” Since then, the Law [...]

  • Minnesota Law Review Alum Remembered 45 Years After Death

    Minnesota Law Review alumnus Tom Cranna was honored at the Annual Banquet this Spring, 45 years after his death. Mr. Cranna was remembered for his contributions to the journal, the school, and the positive impact he had on his family and friends. The Devil’s Lake Journal published a memorial which [...]

  • Follow MLR on Twitter!

    The Minnesota Law Review is proud to announce that we are now on Twitter. Follow us @MinnesotaLawRev for information and updates concerning the petition period and deadlines, the opening and closing of article submissions, our 2014 Symposium: Offenders in the Community, and all other news concerning our authors and publications. [...]


cforms contact form by delicious:days