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Gas drilling underwent a boom starting in the mid-2000s in many communities, fueled by hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process of oil and natural gas extraction that injects a mix of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure underground to break up shale in order to release and recover the oil and gas.
A decade later, local governments are still learning important lessons about how best to regulate impacts from oil and gas development, how local authority is determined by the state's regulatory approach to the industry, and how best to reap the benefits of economic growth to plan for a community's future. Although the scope of a local government's authority varies from state to state, there is still often a substantial amount that local governments can do to plan for oil and gas development and regulate the impacts of drilling operations in their communities.
This issue of Zoning Practice explores how local governments are regulating impacts from hydraulic fracturing activities. It discusses setbacks for well pads and other fracking activities and limits on hours of operation, noise levels, and lighting, among other standards.
About the Author
Sorell Negro is an associate in Robinson+Cole's LandLaw Section, where she focuses on land use and environmental litigation. She earned her J.D. from Cornell Law School and B.S. from Georgetown University. Ms. Negro provides guidance to clients on a variety of land use issues, including zoning, permitting and development, smart growth initiatives, coastal development, property rights, eminent domain, and impacts of proposed land use regulations and recently enacted legislation. Her litigation experience spans federal and state court and includes land use appeals, complex real property disputes, regulation and remediation of wetlands, public health violations, and claims under state and federal environmental laws. Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Ms. Negro clerked for the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Ms. Negro is active in the APA, American Bar Association (ABA), and Connecticut Bar Association. She was one of six young lawyers selected nationally to be a fellow of the ABA’s Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law for 2012-2014. She is a vice-chair of the ABA’s Water Resources Committee, and the CLE Coordinator and the Young Lawyers Committee Co-Chair for the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law. She regularly writes and presents on issues related to land use, property rights, and natural resources, including urban agriculture, land use impacts from oil and gas development, coastal adaptation to sea level rise, and land banking and other tools for dealing with distressed properties. She wrote a chapter in the 2013 ABA book, Beyond the Fracking Wars. and is currently co-editing a book on urban agriculture for the ABA that will be published in early 2015. She received the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law’s 2013 Jefferson B. Fordham Up & Comers Award, has been listed as a Rising Star on Connecticut’s Super Lawyers® list for land use and zoning since 2013, and was named a New Leader in the Law by the Connecticut Law Tribune in 2014.