Sept. 18, 2015 – Proactive regulations are the key to minimizing disruptive practices, easing concerns, and gaining acceptance in a community where gas exploration is planned, an international authority on energy policy and development told a University of Houston Law Center audience Thursday.
Dr. Tina Hunter of the Centre for Energy Law at Aberdeen University spoke on the "Best Practices for Shale Development in Australia and Lessons for Other Countries" as part of the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center Fall 2015 Speakers Series.
Hunter noted that “best practices” for extracting gas, whether by drilling or unconventional means such as hydraulic fracturing, vary widely depending on circumstances, timing, location, population density, and other factors. Development and challenges in western Australia, for instance, which is sparsely populated, are very different from those faced in the energy fields of the more densely populated eastern part of the country, she said.
Careful planning and regulation, she said, can mitigate such concerns and risks as: earthquakes, water supply and contamination, treatment and disposal of water used in production, handling of radioactive material that surfaces with the sand and water used in the fracturing process, the nuisance factor as trucks carrying equipment and supplies rumble through communities, and the impact on agriculture, raising the question of energy security versus food security.
“It is the construction phase that is really the most disturbing to people,” she said. “If it were me, I would be worried about these great big trucks driving on the same roads my children are on.”
Hunter has presented at more than 50 conferences on three continents and has consulted to governments, industry groups, and NGOs in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the UK, Russia, Poland, and Canada.
The EENR Center Speaker Series is made possible through the generous support of Blank Rome LLP, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Vinson & Elkins LLP, and the Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
View Dr. Hunter’s presentation here.