Hydraulic Fracturing and Local Laws: Leveraging State Preemption, Addressing Fracking Risks and Zoning Challenges

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide counsel with a review of state preemption of local government regulation of oil and gas activity and how different states are responding to the issue. The panel will offer best practices for addressing local efforts to regulate fracking operations and risks associated with fracking.


Local opposition to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations continues to mount. In some states, local governments are responding to alleged concerns about health and environmental risks and are gaining ground in preventing the use of hydraulic fracturing in their jurisdictions. From California to Texas to Pennsylvania, hundreds of local governments have enacted or are looking to enact ordinances to increase local control over or to ban all fracking operations.

Regulating this area has traditionally been the purview of state government, and most states with shale reserves have comprehensive state laws and regulations regarding oil and gas development. Nonetheless, local governments persist in seeking to impose their own limits on the use of hydraulic fracturing. In Dec. 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned portions of a state law that required local governments to conform their local zoning laws to state requirements. Challenges to local ordinances prohibiting hydraulic fracturing are also pending in New York, Ohio, and Colorado.

Counsel to companies engaged in shale development must prepare for the additional hurdles presented by local governments, and gain insights into applicable state laws, the extent of local government authority to regulate such activity, and how courts are addressing the preemption issue in fracking challenges.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses how local governments are attempting to regulate fracking operations and how state preemption impacts such efforts. The panel will offer best practices for addressing local efforts to regulate fracking operations and risks associated with fracking.



  1. What local governments are doing and state preemption
  2. Court treatment
  3. Best practices for regulatory compliance while addressing the risks associated with fracking


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • Where do state laws occupy the entire field of oil and gas preemption?
  • When and how have local governments attained the authority to regulate such activity through zoning?
  • How are state courts treating the preemption issue with regard to fracking challenges?
  • What steps can counsel take to help ensure regulatory compliance while addressing fracking concerns?


Joel F. Visser
Joel F. Visser

Sidley Austin
Deborah Goldberg
Deborah Goldberg

Managing Atty.

Ms. Goldberg supervises and conducts legal advocacy and litigation related to global warming and environmental...  |  Read More

Steven C. Russo
Steven C. Russo

Greenberg Traurig

Mr. Russo focuses his practice on environmental law and litigation, environmental permitting, National...  |  Read More

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