Hydraulic Fracturing and the Legal Onslaught

Preparing for EPA Actions, New Statutory Requirements, and the Growing Litigation Threat

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide counsel with an overview of current and looming future statutes and regulations that govern hydraulic fracturing activities. The panel will evaluate the status of lawsuits pending and likely to be filed and outline some options to defend lawsuits.


Hydraulic fracturing is a technique widely used by energy companies to increase the extraction rates and recovery of oil and natural gas. While not a new process, it has become the subject of widespread recent attention in the courts and government agencies, as well as the media.

Counsel must be aware of the complicated and evolving regulation of hydraulic fracturing. In addition to comprehensive state laws, the EPA has proposed guidance on its potential environmental impacts. A new Congressional study has also heightened national awareness of the legal concerns.

With Sackett v. EPA and its implications for hydraulic fracturing headed to the Supreme Court for review and a rapidly growing number of state and federal actions, energy company counsel must be prepared to defend lawsuits stemming from hydraulic fracturing activities.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental and energy attorneys discusses the latest developments in hydraulic fracturing regulation and litigation.



  1. Overview of Trends in Government Oversight
    1. Current enforcement of regulations and proposed guidance
    2. Current trends in state statutory and regulatory requirements
    3. Current trends in Congressional activity
  2. Update on Hydraulic Fracturing environmental litigation
    1. Types of cases
      1. Methane-migration case updates
      2. Groundwater case updates
      3. Air emissions case updates
      4. Class action case updates
    2. Effect of regulations
      1. Regulatory levels
      2. Negligence claims
      3. Fraud claims
    3. Causation Issues
      1. Contaminants at issue
      2. Exposure and dose
      3. Naturally occurring or attributable to fracking
      4. Litigation strategies


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What does counsel need to understand now about the rapidly changing regulation landscape?
  • What are the implications of the pending litigation for businesses that implement hydraulic fracturing?
  • What is working for counsel who are defending lawsuits on hydraulic fracturing activities?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Gail L. Wurtzler
Gail L. Wurtzler

Davis Graham & Stubbs

She is Head of the firm's Environmental Practice Group. She specializes in environmental toxic tort cases and she has...  |  Read More

Earl L. Hagström
Earl L. Hagström


He is a member of the firm’s Environmental Practice Group and Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force, representing...  |  Read More

Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov
Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov

Steptoe & Johnson

She is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Technology Departments and concentrates her practice on mass torts,...  |  Read More

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