Charting the Future Trajectory for Fracking Regulation: From Environmental Democracy to Cooperative Federalism

Since the lower Paleolithic human’s invention of fire, mankind has continuously pursued energy source for its consumption. In this perennial search for energy, fossil fuel has been the predominant driver. Seeking natural gas via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) also falls in this continuum. Fracking involves unlocking natural gas from the shale formation via a two-step process. First, by fracturing the layers of rock formation deep beneath the earth’s crust and, in the second, extracting such gas through horizontal drilling at depths of several miles. Although fracking has its origin for more than a century, it has come to a focal point of our contemporary discourse for various reasons.3 Driven in part by the growing public concern over underground contamination4 and also prompted by sudden urgency for regulation due to isolated instances of environmental pollution, fracking has come to occupy a contentious space within the socio-political exchanges of today.