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Mineral Estate Conservation Easements: A New Policy Instrument to Address Hydraulic Fracturing and Resource Extraction

February 2017

Citation: ELR 10112

Author: Robert B. Jackson, Jessica Owley, and James Salzman

The rise of high-volume hydraulic fracturing has been accompanied by a suite of environmental and social concerns, including potential water and air contamination, greenhouse gas emissions, health effects, and community disruptions. Concerned over these negative environmental impacts, individuals and communities have turned to the law to restrict oil and natural gas production. This Comment proposes a novel tool, the mineral estate conservation easement, to provide landowners with the ability to restrict hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas subsurface activities in areas of social or ecological vulnerability in perpetuity.

Robert B. Jackson is Michelle and Kevin Douglas Provostial Professor, Department of Earth System Science, Woods Institute for the Environment, and Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University. Jessica Owley is Professor of Law, University at Buffalo School of Law, the State University of New York. James Salzman is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Bren School of the Environment, University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of California, Los Angeles Law School.

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