Water plays a critical role in the development of our shale gas resources. This course will examine the relationship between water and shale gas extraction. The emphasis will be on the life cycle of water used in shale gas well development, beginning with common law, statutory and regulatory rights and requirements governing the ownership and allocation of water resources, with particular attention paid to interstate compacts and basin wide water allocation mechanisms. The course will place an emphasis on emerging issues that attorneys face in practice and will include guest lectures by hydro-geologists, geochemists, and other professionals.
Some of the issues that will be covered include: common law water quantity rights; basin commission water quantity regulations, and their impact on shale development's significant water withdrawals; the application of the Clean Water Act and the state version of it (the Clean Streams Law) to the shale extraction process; treatment and disposal of wastewater; groundwater contamination; local zoning and land use; and trends in shale-based litigation.