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Shale Gas

Jun 13, 2019 | 0 comments

Jun 13, 2019 | Essays | 0 comments

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Environmental Considerations and Effects of Shale Gas in the EU and the USA

Table of Contents iv

Introduction 1

Methodology 5

CHAPTER 1: Definition of Shale Gas 10

1.1 Brief Shale Gas Extraction Description 10

1.1.1 Shale Gas Production and Environmental Concerns 12

1.2 Shale Gas Production Present Status 14

European Union 14

The United States 17

CHAPTER 2: The US and the EU Environmental Law 21

2.1 EU Environmental Law 21

2.2 US Environmental Law 25

2.3 Which Is Preferable, EU And Federal Law Or Member State Regulation? 28

CHAPTER 3: Shale Production Legislation in the US and the EU 36

3.1 Natural Resources Extraction 36

3.1.1 The Right to Natural Resources Extraction in the EU 37

3.1.2. The Right to Extract Natural Resources in the US 38

3.2. US: Energy Policy Act 2005 (EPA2005) 39

3.3 Permits and Authorizations 40

3.3.1 The EU Permits for Production of Shale Gas 40

3.3.2. The US Permits for Production of Shale Gas 42

3.4 Impact Assessments 44

3.4.1. The European Union Environmental Impact Assessments 45

3.4.2 The United States Environmental Impact Assessments 47

3.5. Regulations of Air Quality and Emissions 49

3.5.1. The European Union of Air Quality and Emission Regulation 49

3.5.2 The United States Air Quality and Emission Regulation 51

3.6. Regulation on Water 52

3.6.1.The EU Regulation on Water 53

3.6.2. United States Regulation on Water 55

3.7. Regulation on chemicals 57

3.7.1. European Union Regulation on Chemicals 57

3.7.2. The United States Regulation on Chemicals 58

Conclusion 61

Bibliography 63

Introduction

All over the world “Shale gas” is a topic in every newsroom and every environmental activist as well as economic critic’s campaigns; it keeps interchanging between ‘Shale gas’ and “Hydraulic fragmentation’. [1]This has become a substantially important concept; due to its significant impact on United States (US) gas production; in the European Union (EU). As the twenty-first century began the US went into a great ‘shale gas boom”’. In almost eight years the shale gas share grew from barely 2 %, and rose to 19% of US overall and total gas production; thus shale gas becomes a significant energy source in the energy production industry.

The US mines its shale gas from deep rock formations underground. [2]US is amongst other EU member states who discovered shale in significant amounts for energy production; although the US is the leading country in its utilization of shale gas in energy production. EU is strategically planning to indulge in shale gas production on a large-scale basis; however, there are several factors to put into consideration; particularly the environmental impacts of shale gas production processes.

[3]Shale gas production entails substantial benefits; the major merits of shale gas production include a decrease in the levels of dependency on imported gas and building on the production of gas domestically. [4]Secondly, utilization of gas serves as a substitute for fuels that are carbon-intensive such as coal as well as oil, thus effectively achieving a decrease in the emissions from greenhouse-gas. Thirdly, there are several economic benefits in shale gas production through exporting the gas as well as creating a wide range of job opportunities for the unemployed.

[5]Besides the beneficial factors of shale production, there are quite a range of demerits that come with shale gas production as well; particularly critical environmental impacts. Amongst the disadvantages of shale production are pollution of the air, contamination of activities that result in physical healthiness. For example, proper diet, ensuring that all meals are balanced and taking a lot of water, noise pollution; as well as chemicals release into the environment causing significant pollution to the environment. Therefore, the EU has come up with an environmental regulatory framework with the primary objective of enabling protection of the environment against the effects of shale gas production; particularly for the US.[6]It is important to note however that there is a substantial difference between the environmental law implementation and lawmaking process in both the US as well as the EU; therefore understanding the implementation of the environmental laws as well as the lawmaking process is crucial.

In this particular research the preparation component of the environmental regulatory framework of the EU; involving the protection of the environment against the significant pollution that results from the production of the shale gas process; particularly in the US. From the 1940s the US has been indulged in the utilization of shale gas production for energy source purposes. [7]Therefore, over the years of experience in the production of shale gas the US has gained significant experience as well as knowledge of regulations of the growing issues affecting the environment in concern to the shale gas production process; thus presenting a suitable and substantially appropriate legal regime to bring into comparison with the EU law. Moreover, with the most recent developments in scaling and processes of production of shale gas; bringing forth a thorough comparison of both the EU and the US federal regulation as captivating research particularly to determine the ongoing debate discussing whether or not the current EU environmental legislation has the capabilities to efficiently control the production of shale gas within the present near future.

[8]The member states of the EU together with the US states are currently receiving Acts from the US as well as regulations and directives from the EU in regards to environmental legislation; from the distinct central governments. Besides the distinct differences that exist between the EU structure and the US federation; partly because the EU is currently nota federation and instead stands as a ‘collaboration’ of the twenty-seven member states of the EU; there are quite a several similarities that exist in both systems in regards to legislation towards environmental protection.[9]The primary similarity between the EU and the US federal government is that the EU member states, as well as the US states, are limited to implementing directions from the central environmental legislation; and thus be limited to dealing with the direct bindings of central regulations directed from the related centralized EU or the federal legislator. [10]This research on the EU and the US environmental legislation is effectively examined in association with an extension as to which the different states can derogate from the directives as well as the federal acts and regulations in concern to the production of shale gas. Having a comparison on the level of flexibility as well as the applicability of the present environmental legislation; therefore the thesis thus demonstrates and identifies whether the US or the EU effectively establishes a significantly coherent system; upon which all the member states are provided the same environmental protection minimum level by the central environmental laws.

The research has its first chapter examining the environmental issues brought about by the production of shale gas, the EU and US future of production of shale gas, and perusing the primary statements as well as policies of the US states and the EU member states in concern to Production of shale gas. [11]A better comprehension of the shale gas production background is crucial in addressing the present environmental concerns as well as the legislation applicable.

The research has its second chapter examining the existing differences between the EU and the US lawmaking processes for environmental laws. [12]Therefore, to initiate an effective legal analysis between the two distinctively different legal systems it is vital to efficiently comprehend the procedures involved in law-making within both of the systems. Moreover, this particular chapter thoroughly identifies the advantages, as well as disadvantages of the centrally directed, regulate in regards to the regulations of the activities involved in the production of shale gas processes. The third chapter will focus on scrutinizing the laws applicable to shale gas production; in the EU as well as the US. Examining the possibilities and open norms in concern to derogation by the member states in question. The fourth chapter, together with the last chapter thrives in comparing the present environmental laws in the US as well as the EU. Putting into consideration the conclusions, as well as observations derived throughout the topics, discussed a substantial findings overview of the research. Lastly, the research concludes by drawing a conclusion by considering guidance from the discussed as well as addressed issues in the research.

Methodology

The primary purpose of this research is to effectively examine and determine the present EU environmental regulatory framework, thus enabling the regulation of various components throughout the production of the shale gas process through hydraulic fragmentation. [13]The definition and determination of whether the laws of the EU have the capabilities to effectively ensure regulation of all essential environmental aspects of the production of shale gas; thus making a thorough comparison between the EU, together with the US regulatory framework. [14]Particularly because the US has been indulged in shale gas production, as well as environmental related issues since the 1940s, the US thus stand s as the more appropriate regime to make a comparison against the laws of the EU. Since the US has a history of more than seventy years with shale gas extraction, this research presupposes the certainty of environmental protection in the US has developed.

Making a comparison will enhance the enabling a definite establishment of whether the present EU framework stands as a better component in the protection of the various environmental aspects brought about from the level of pollution caused by the production of shale gas by the process of hydraulic fragmentation. [15]The research ascertains a centrally or federally legislated regulatory framework consisting of the regulations that bind the member are in a better position to effectively protect the environment besides a set regulatory framework based within a weak centralized regulation which entails open possibilities as well as norms with aim of deviation for the US and EU member states from the regulations in question. In chapter two of the research, an argument, as well as reasoning, is stated towards this assertion.

This research carries out an analysis of two specific aspects of the current environmental legislation.[16] First of all, the legislation that is applicable to the production of shale gas processes is analyzed critically on the application probabilities. The second aspect brings forth the question of the existence of legislation that allows a state of deviation from its specific provisions; it also questions the states that are allowed the utilization of interpretations as well as whether or not the ‘central’ legislation is strictly binding. [17]Deriving answers to these essential questions will bring forth a conclusion that is established in which the regulatory regime of the EU stands as substantially more or lesser that as a determinant in the regulation of shale gas production, than the regulatory regime of the US.

The legislation scrutiny done in this research entails primarily of the relevant directives, EU regulations, policy documents as well as regulations effectiveness reports. [18]The US utilizes applicable federal acts. Environment Protection Agency of the US, and the EU’s Resources of the European Commission are utilized to ensure the creation of an overview that is comprehensive on the various legislations, together with getting a deeper perception of how compliance, as well as legislation, is implemented. [19]Various publications are utilized for a thorough review of the current legal framework to derive a deeper comprehension of the background of the environmental regulation in both the EU and the US. To achieve creation of an objective review, there are sources of the private as well as public resources and institutions from the US, together with the EU scholars are utilized throughout this research in order to create a debate that is well balanced.

[20]Shale gas production through the utilization of the process of hydraulic fragmentation presents a vast range of debatable issues. The scope is therefore limited because of the research’s magnitude. [21]The research carries out an examination of the permit process, authorization, environmental regulation, as well as the regulation of the various components within the environment throughout the production process; this includes the chemicals, air, and water. A major focus is driven towards the related issues; including the litigation possibilities, natural resources ownership, together with the liability issues that may arise from environmental pollution and harm.

The first chapter expounds on the background introduction, as well as the shale gas production possibilities. The second chapter is focused on expounding on the US and the EU’s environmental legal framework. The US federal law, as well as, EU differences are substantially addressed. The chapter also presents an argument on the merits and demerits of federal as well as EU environmental legislation. Chapter three addresses and scrutinizes the environmental legislation applicable. Describing the applicable laws that are related to the effective protection of the environment, more specifically the protection of the environment against air and water pollution, differences are demonstrated between the US and the EU. It also brings forth of US and EU’s summary of the various strength as well as weaknesses of the current legislation.

[22]In the conclusion, the EU and US frameworks have both their weaknesses and strengths through the definition of which system presents substantially strict norms, then leaving minimal discretion enabled to the member states to legislation adaptation or implementation of the EU legislation as well as federal legislation. Thus, the conclusion is based on the discussion’s results. The conclusion presents the answers to the questions arising in the previous chapters of the research. [23]Finally, the conclusion gives a research findings summary, together with a crucial review on the current legal frameworks eligibility towards the protection of the environment against pollution caused by the production of shale gas.

CHAPTER 1: Definition of Shale Gas

The chapter addresses the production of shale gas background. Since production of shale gas is through utilization of the hydraulic fragmentation processes, a relatively new method of extraction a thorough background is necessary for a definite comprehension of the complications involved in hydraulic fragmentation process. The hydraulic fragmentation process is a complex process that differs substantially from ordinary natural gas extraction. Therefore, the chapter entails of a short extraction overview, the probable pollutions of environment, environmental policies as well as the present shale gas production status in both the US and the EU.

Brief Shale Gas Extraction Description

[24]Natural resources as categorized into two distinct classes; unconventional and conventional resources. Natural resources that are in the unconventional resources class refer to the uncommon and less identified energy sources; for instance tight sandstone, coal bed methane as well as shale gas. [25]Shale gas, however, stands out as the most often used. Shale gas is derived from reservoirs located deep into the surface within the coal beds as well as rock formations. The extraction method that is utilized often to obtain shale gas is ‘fracking’; otherwise known as the Hydraulic Fragmentation.

[26]The hydraulic fragmentation method involves drilling a well horizontally into the earth’s surface to enable access to the layer of the earth holding the shale gas, also known as the ‘shale formation’, beneath the surface. Once drilling is complete, a number of gaps are formed within the well’s horizontal part. When the well is completely done and gap creation has occurred; explosive charges are placed to fire up the well’s horizontal side through the utilization of the gaps that were created, right into the ‘shale formation’. These explosives significantly perforate the well as well as the ‘shale formation’. These perforations are referred to as fractures. Once fractures occur fluid is simultaneously pumped into the well, together with the fractures with substantially high levels of pressure. Thus, forcing the fluid to effectively transport the gas from deep within the well up to the top of the surface where both the fluid as well as gas gathers. [27]The fluid is referred to as ‘fracking fluid’, it is a combination of a number of components, namely; sand, water and various chemicals. Each of the components has their distinct purpose and role in the ‘fracking fluid’. The ‘proppant’,which is the sand in the activities that result to physical healthiness. For example, proper diet, ensuring that all meals are balanced and taking a lot of water is functioned to keep fractures opened with aim of enabling the flow of gas throughout the shale formations, as well as the transportation to the well’s top. [28]The primary function of the chemicals is to decrease the level of friction within the pipelines, and to enhance the fluid pumping into the shale formation. Thereafter one the extraction process is complete, utilization of gas resources occurs and both the pipelines and well are retrieved; thus restoring the drilling site.

1.1.1 Shale Gas Production and Environmental Concerns

As mentioned earlier shale gas production is a relatively complex comparison when compared to the conventional gas extraction. [29]The key aspect of the process of extraction is the ‘fracking’ fluid injections into the fractures, located deep within the surface of the earth. The major environmental concern in relation to ‘fracking’ fluid is the existence of the mixtures chemicals. After injection of fluids into the fractures a substantial amount of fluid is not fully recovered after the process of extraction. Therefore, with less than 100% of the fluid recovered, a percentage of the waste fluids is released into the environment. Thus, the waste fluids cause contamination caused by the chemicals both in the ground waters as well as the surface.

Apart from the contamination caused in the groundwater as well as on the surface hydraulic fragmentation may cause a vast range of impacts as well as pollutions onto the environment. [30]For instance, the constant releasing of air pollutants, utilization of land for the extraction sites as well as the necessary infrastructure, introduced risks to the humans, plants and animals within the extraction site area, noise pollution during the extraction process and during traffic to and from the site of extraction. [31]Furthermore, it also risks degradation to the overall visual view of the environment as well as the risks to increased seismic events throughout the extraction site area.

Presently the EU has a number of concerns as mentioned above that are addressed by the environmental legislation of the EU. [32]However, some environment parts remain protected less from the risks of pollution caused by the process of extraction of shale gas. Nevertheless, the concerns in question are adopted by the European Parliament’s resolution.

The US has been undertaking production of shale gas from the 1940’s. Therefore, as a result of this relatively long relationship with shale gas production, the US has attained a substantial experience in management of the environmental issues as well as the environmental regulations in concern to production of shale gas production. Thus landing the US with an appropriate legal regime to have a detailed comparison against the EU laws. Despite the production of shale gas in the EU still not on a large scale basis, a sizeable regulation as well as directives covers the environmental issues brought about by shale gas production. [33]The environmental impacts brought about by shale gas production result in cross boundary impacts; a good example being air emission and contamination of water. [34]Since environmental pollution complexity and the risks involved in the human as well as environmental health resulted from the production of shale gas, the pollution to the environment from extraction of shale gas should be regulated efficiently by the US federal government or by the EU to enable maintenance of a quality environment throughout the regions.

Shale Gas Production Present Status

European Union

[35]At the present date production of shale gas in the EU has been done in a small scale basis. EU’s member states have began venturing into shale gas production in a small scale basis, while some of them have permits they had issued in waiting for the Government’s approval. Due to shale gas production’s negative impacts, a great debate is currently on-going in the EU. Nevertheless, there is a significant amount of pressure exerted onto EU to begin shale gas production because today’s crucial changes in the energy markets. Moreover, the EU views the shale gas with its great potential in the energy industry.

[36]Not to mention that in the EU, amongst the member states there is an existing debate in the differing opinions. In concern to the probabilities of beginning shale gas production within the EU, great concerns about the hydraulic fragmentation is presently causing EU to be divided in a debate of those in support of and those in reluctance in opinions in perceptions of shale gas production. The EU member states are divided into two distinct groups. There is a group of shale gas production supporters , consisting of both the EU states as well as the energy sourced industries. [37]This particular group stands with the perception of production of shale gas as a source of numerous economic benefits, job opportunities, as well as, reduced dependency of importation of gas. On the other hand, the second group of debate is within a substantial level awareness of the negative harmful effects that are brought about by the process of hydraulic fragmentation; and are therefore highly resistant towards approval of hydraulic fragmentation within the EU, particularly in their individual regions. Thus, the group has its concerns primarily based on the present inconsistency of quality standards as well as the significant lack of sufficient data in assessment of the environmental impacts caused by production of shale gas.

[38]It is clear that the member states of the EU have substantial shale resources and thus stand at a more proponent position for the shale gas extraction than others. For instance, Poland is perceived as the most probable member state within the EU to begin the extraction of shale gas. Poland holds a significant amount of shale resources, greater than all the other EU member states. [39]Apart from Poland, in the year 2011 the United Kingdom (UK) began by approving and allowing the extraction of shale gas. However after the unfortunate Black pool’s seismic event, that held a large probability of being a result of the shale extraction processes, a temporary ban on hydraulic fragmentation has been placed in the UK. [40]Additionally, apart from the UK and Poland some other member states are now showing interest as well as willingness to join the production of shale gas, a good example would be the beginning of test-drillings within their regions.

[41]Despite this progress towards shale production in the EU, a good number of the member states are highly reluctant towards indulging in shale gas production as a source of energy. Moreover, Bulgaria together with France has initiated an introduction of a moratorium on the extraction of shale gas in regards to the present environmental concerns. North Rhine Westphalia, a German federal state initiated an introduction to a moratorium on hydraulic fragmentation, despite this Germany is a crucial debate towards the approval of production of shale gas. Moreover, Romania and the Czech Republic are both currently in the process of consideration for a moratorium. It is important to note, that these different countries are considering attaining a moratorium for different individual reasons. [42]A discussion is undergoing in the Czech Republic with a signed petition by more than 35,000 individuals. The ministry of environment is currently in consideration to introduce a temporary ban with aim of conducting scientific research on the vast range of impacts of hydraulic fragmentation. In Romania the parliament has initiated a proposal for a moratorium, however, the current Senate of Romania highly rejected the proposal. All in all, presently there are two bills in processing that have the potential to significantly influence the hydraulic fragmentation application within the Parliament of Romania.

[43]A statement has been made profoundly by the European Commission to the EU’s commissioner for Environment; the European Commission has obligation to make sure that the laws of the EU are sufficient in the regulation of the currently new activity of production of shale gas through the utilization of hydraulic fragmentation. Moreover, the European’s Commission opinion on shale gas production through the utilization of the hydraulic fragmentation process has remained neutral with the EU. The next chapter will point out that, shale gas extraction serves as a prevailing business amongst the EU member states, and specifically not within the institutions of the EU. Lastly, the current EU legal environmental framework should have the ability to establish a substantially efficient regulator regime that has competency towards the protection against environmental pollution throughout the EU region.

United States

[44]On the other hand, when compared to the EU, the US is full-on in the production of shale gas. The US has been the reason for the revolution of shale gas production in the last decade. Today, shale gas production takes up up to 20% of the US total production of natural gas production. [45]An estimation has been done for the future growth of shale gas production annually, predicting up to 71% growth by the year 2035. Furthermore, the production of shale gas in the US has brought about a great impact to the current gas market; shale gas production and its growth have caused a substantial drop in prices. The US perceives shale gas production as a source of numerous opportunities to attain minimal dependency on imports in the country as well as security on the necessity of energy sources with the utilization of self-production of shale gas as a form of substitution to fossil fuels, a good example being oil.

[46]The US has discovered shale resources in a significant percentage of its states. More often than not, shale gas production has received minimal resistance and has been welcomed by the states, majorly because of the existing economic benefits that come along with shale production, such as significant job opportunities for the unemployed. Despite this, a great concern has risen and is growing in relation to the environmental pollution that is brought about by shale production. More specifically within the states presently facing a significant amount of environmental degradation. The growing concerns have eventually led to an establishment of moratoria in quite a number of the states.

The growing environmental concerns are not the only influential factors to the future of shale gas production in the US. [47]The boom of production of shale gas in the US has led to a drop in gas prices. Despite the efficiency and technological advancements within the production of shale gas has led to a significant improvement over time, thus leading to reduced production costs, the investors involved in the production of shale gas are having doubts of the recoupment of their investments. Although this concern is particularly economically related, it stands as a problem within the underlying cause of issues of shale gas production and stands as a topic beyond this particular research scope. [48]The probable underlying issues are taken into consideration when the states are making a decision as to whether or not they should undertake a step towards the beginning or expanding shale gas production domestically.

[49]Therefore to effectively comprehend the present energy policies, as well as the support of the production of shale gas in the US, it is necessary to point out that there is an existing desideratum within the policies in the US, towards attaining independency on the energy resources importation. Thus, with this particular strategy to attain minimal dependency on energy resources importation of the Bush administration, the federal government of the US had the introduction of the Energy Policy Act (EPA2005) in the year 2005. [50]The introduced act has effectively supported the energy resources domicile exploitation within the US. The EPA2005 adopted domicile energy production support, there was a partial environmental legislation exclusion for activities in relation to resource exploitation with aim of stimulating the domicile energy resources production, particularly the shale gas in question. Nevertheless, apart from the [51]US government stimulation the evidence of existence of the negative impacts of the production of shale gas, primarily by the media attention, pressure has risen substantially to the introduction of the significantly strict legal regime in concern to shale gas extraction.

CHAPTER 2: The US and the EU Environmental Law

A comparison between the environmental regulatory systems of the US and the US requires the existing differences of both the legal structures to be taken into consideration. The distinct differences between the legal structures of both the EU and the US the implementation of the regulations may be different as well. Therefore, this chapter addresses an overview of the existing processes of environmental lawmaking within the US and the EU.

2.1 EU Environmental Law

[52]The EU has in place three main institutions that are involved in the entire lawmaking process thus forming the legislative power. The EU’s legislative power consists of the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Court of Justice. The European Parliament has the authority and power to make necessary amendments proposals for the regulations as well as the directives the European Commission proposed. [53]Within the EU the European Commission stands as the second power. The European Commission has a number of primary tasks, these include initiating proposals for existing environmental legislation of the regulations and directives proposals, the guidance of the member states compliance with the controlling compliance as well as treaties of institutions as well as states with the EU policies. [54]Thus, the European Commission stands to ensure that the law of the EU is correctly applied.The EU’s third power is the European Union Council that the ministers collaborate to form. The primary task of the European Council is establishing priority levels of the EU policies. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the EU’s judicial body. The judicial body is authorized to ensure the law of the EU is effectively interpreted as well as applied within the different twenty-seven states.

The three institutions act within set power limits. The limitation of power is all dependent on the (TFEU) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In the EU only the TFEU has provided institutions with legislation power authorized for issuance of environmental laws. Therefore, the EU lies in a position of limited power to regulate the environment. The EU’s power in the issuance of environmental regulations is entirely on the basis of an TFEU Article 192. [55]The TFEU Article 191 works with Article 192 to provide the environmental principles which take priority on the European policy-making of the EU. The EU member states are bound to the directives as results are bound to the set targets in directives for the EU member states. The EU has its member states transposed into the system’s national regulation.[56] The regulations in the EU are directly binding. As per the EU system, the member states remain with a certain level of discrete in the path to strive towards achieving targets that are set by directives through the utilization of national legislation. Contradicting the given directives, the set regulations are not compulsory to transposing into the member states of national regulatory systems. [57]In the Eu once a regulation is implemented, it becomes a priority that stands above the member states’ national laws. It is important to note that the EU member states have the chance for a review by the judicial body to approve of the legitimacy of the set regulations as well as the directives that are introduced for implementation. In the EU however, it is uncommon to bring forth a challenge towards the legitimacy of the set regulations as well as directives by the TFEU. Moreover, the EU’s national judges have the authority to request the European Court Justice for an EU law preliminary ruling.

In the EU the European Commission has a primary function of being a watchdog for the EU, together with controlling the implementation of national legislation effective to attain the set objectives set by the directives, as well as ensuring the member states have in place an effective system to enforce the set regulations. [58]The European Commission forms mechanism compliance between the legislation of the member states and the legislation of the EU. A member state that fails to implement regulation of the EU sufficiently and on the given schedule the European Commission can make a decision to give a warning to the member states on any violations or in the case of any form of default to have the state sue before the European Court of Justice.[59] Apart from the Environmental legislation of the EU, the member states have the freedom to establish their own environmental laws pertained they do not come into violation of the EU’s law provisions. Nevertheless, the member states function under specific set conditions to allow the implementation of stringent protective measures within their individual environmental legislation as compared to EU’s legislation.

[60]In concern to the regulations of the EU, both indirectly as well as directly of the importance of production of shale gas, there is a significant point to be noted. The EU as a whole no particular environmental legislation is designed towards regulations of activities involved in the production of shale gas. The EU instead has general portions of the environmental legislation of the EU, together with regulations in mining that are applicable to the activities in concern to the production of shale gas. Due to the complexity of the extraction by utilization of hydraulic fragmentation, a significant amount of regulations and directives of the EU regulate the production of shale gas. Firstly, Hydrocarbons Directives effectively provides a general regulation in concern to hydrocarbons extraction. This particular directive has its focus on the prevention of monopolies on minerals extraction, together with the creation of a fair market for the minerals as well as a directive towards the minerals management by the individual member states. Thus, the directives entail the regulations in concern to the environment as well as the permit procedural processes that are followed by the member states. The second of all, the compulsory environmental impact assessments are highly effective application to the production activities of shale gas. The regulations of the EU on the impact assessments are determined within the Strategic Environmental Assessment as well as the Environmental Impact Assessment directives. Reliant on the various activities of shale production meeting the impact assessment requirements, the member states of the EU stand in obligation to effectively perform particular assessments before beginning any of these activities.[61] Thirdly, the third category of the environmental laws of the EU applicable are in existence of municipals’ environmental directives and regulations which protect as well as cover the particularly substantial ‘ thematic’ portions of the environment; for instance water, air, together with the utilization of chemicals.

2.2 US Environmental Law

The legal structure implemented in the US is significantly different from that in the EU. First of all, the US has embraced the federal-oriented government and therefore has a federal government; whereas the EU is viewed as cooperation’ oriented governance between the twenty-seven different member states of the EU. [62]Moreover, the US has its federal government to have its legislative power limited and controlled by the US constitution. The US constitution has significant power over the environmental laws through its power of protection of all federal lands; thus holding the power to effectively protect the federal lands against activities that will lead to its pollution and destruction. In the US to implement an environmental act or law, the US Congress compulsorily has to hold a preceding through the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. A proposal only becomes a law through the signature of The US president. In the US the federal environmental law entails Congress legislations, otherwise known as statues, laws, acts, rulings by the federal court, agencies’ regulations, executive order by the President; as well as ratified international treaties by Senate of the US. The US president only has the approval to act as per the power entitled to him in the US constitution, and alternatively by the Congress statutes.

[63]The US Congress has the ability to empower federal agencies towards effective regulations on the protection of the environment. Once empowered, they receive authority to efficiently promulgate binding regulations for individual conduct. The federal agencies that are concerned with US’ environmental legislation are the US Council on Environmental Quality, as the Environmental Protection Agency. The primary legislated mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to thrive towards environmental protection, and human health as well. Moreover, it is obliged by the environmental federal acts to administer regulations for the environment, and together with the executive agency set the minimum required standards for the environment, as well as the requirements to be met by the individual state governments.

[64]Apart from the federal and US constitution, each individual state within the US has its own set state constitution as well as environmental laws. More often than not individual state laws do not contradict the set federal laws. Moreover, the federal laws are implemented within the state laws through the fact that they have to pass approval by the federal agencies. In the occurrence that a particular state law contradicts federal law, the federal law thus supersedes the set state law. Each state within the US has its own set environmental laws that implement the environmental regulations legislated federally.

[65]It is therefore crucial to address the issue of the conflicts that may arise between the US State laws and the US federal laws. It is absurdly normal to have the state laws and the federal laws contradicting each other in the US. Therefore, the Supreme Court in the US has the power to test the legitimacy of the federal law as per the provisions set in the US constitution. Thus, in the case that a state claims that a certain federal law is incompliant with the present US constitution, the US Supreme Court has the power to test the law in question on the legitimacy as per the US constitution. Although it highly common and convenient in the US to bring forth litigation on state law or a federal law legitimacy, the EU has this occurrence as a less likely occurrence and it is also perceived as a highly complex issue to pursue in the EU. The federal regulations in the US hold a highly sensitive topic; the strict limitations to land owned privately. Environment regulations in the US in the past consisted of direct and indirect limitations to private land ownership has faced a significant level of challenges.

[66]In the mid 1970s, the US federal government effectively introduced and implemented a set of federal legislated environmental regulations. Similarly to the US, the EU holds a sizeable federal legislation on the production of shale gas that is applicable. [67]The US applicable legislation entails inter alia; the (CAA) Clean Air Act, (CWA) Clean Water Act, (NEPA) National Environmental Policy Act, (SDWA) Safe Drinking Water Act, and the ( EPCRA) Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. It is clear that the production of shale gal is in the exemption of quite a number of the federal environmental acts, thus the individual states hold a firm position towards the regulation of production of shale gas within their jurisdiction. A crucial point is that the US states have the freedom to adopt more than one stringent formed regulations in addition to the established environmental regulation, such as the Acts mentioned.

2.3 Which Is Preferable, EU And Federal Law Or Member State Regulation?

[68]A debate rampages on in the US and the EU on a matter of opinions that differ substantially on two sides, one questions whether environmental legislation centrally harmonized or State as well as regional level legislation stands as more competent towards effectively protecting the environment against any form of pollution caused by the production of shale gas. In the US particularly a great challenge emerged as a result of their history in the protection of the environment against the negative effects of the production of shale gas. A good example being the vastly varying laws in quite a number of states that exist on the disclosure of chemicals. The chemical disclosure that occurs in the production of the shale gas industry is unregulated within a federal level, thus presently remains only in regulation by the state laws. Therefore, resulting in diverging regulations throughout the US states. In the US a number of states have introduced proficient regulation. [69]Whereas within other states the important disclosure regulations are missing, or are otherwise ineffective regulations.

The federal regulations set out a minimum level of the standards as well as requirements that could enable prevention against these types of problems. Despite, the EU not sharing a similar level of experience with the implementations of the environmental laws towards the protection of the environment against the production of shale gas with the US, the EU has opinions that stand divergent on the EU level, advantages as well as disadvantages of the environmental laws.

Generally, the US holds a significant preference for the remaining portion of the state primacy in concern to environmental regulations, besides federal level legislation. The primary thought behind this particular preference entails of inter alia of the states wish to adopt as well as govern their individual environmental policies, taking into consideration the social and the economic concerns within the regional or state level, together with the capability to attain efficiently quick as well as adaptive responsive levels about the environmental issues. Amongst the constantly repeated advantages are public involvement at the regional level, customized as well as efficient local level environmental regulations. [70]Particular divergent issues in concern to the state local environments are continually prevailingly for regulation by the state governments. Whereas, environmental pollution characteristically, particularly shale gas production resultant, remains unbounded by jurisdiction and the state borders. Centrally leveled governments have the ability towards implementation of a substantially holistic regulatory framework utilized for an individual state, thus avoiding environmental legislatory issues at a cross-border level. [71]The EU as well as Federal legislation brings harmony of the environmental laws right through across state borders; thus ensuringa minimum level of requirements and protection from both opposite border sides and preventing environmental pollution from the individual member states from the existing loopholes and gaps. The federal law, together with the EU law have the ability to effectively regulate the ‘migratory resources’, for instance, the migration of water that is contaminated and pollution of the air, the common issues in cross border cases brought by the production of shale gas through the process of hydraulic fragmentation. However, the contra-argumentation can be perceived as per the present differences that exist in the production methods, as well as, the geographical areas that has extraction site for production of shale gas. Within the individual states the local authorities may hold a substantial ability to ‘tailor’ legislation to fit the current local situation and circumstances taking into account the local factors the federal law takes account of. Moreover, the ‘tailored’ laws may be efficiently introduced at the top of the EU law and even the federal,establishing a minimum level of the requirements as well as regulations.

[72]The federal and EU environmental legislation are easy for the states to adopt. States may prefer to substantially strengthen their individual state environmental laws to fit in to the stands level they perceive essential to achieve an efficient level ofenvironmental protection. Presently, the US federal legislation are facing several challenges with the establishment of a minimum level of standards as well as environmental regulations, that may result to the US fifty states entirely across the region to have a vast range in variety of environmental legislation in concern to production of shale gas. [73]A significant negative factor of the federal and the EU environmental lawsis the presentlycostly as well as extensive studies necessary for the sufficiency in designing federal environmental regulations. The federal regulations costs are more likely greater than the local level regulations; thus legislation must be designed to be appropriateacross all the states. Nevertheless, the federal studies occasionallyhave an overlapping of the local or the state studies, possibly resulting in the doubling of costs. Moreover, the federal studies prove to be substantially time consuming more than state authoritiesprocesses. However, it is not predictable to purpose that the EU or even the federalstudies become substantially costly when compared to the local governments costs combined. More related are necessary for scrutiny of these existing uncertainties.

Presently quite a few number of states have effectively implemented a strict environmental regime, whereas the larger number of states have in place anenvironmental protection of a lower level.[74] The individual member states face significant difficulty and strain to balance interest in decision making on whether or not they are introduced an environmental protection at a great level, or in stimulating an economy through shale gas production. Thus introduction of the ‘tragedy of commons’, described as a statesself-interest in a short term level, besides the whole country’s interest. [75]Furthermore the EU and Federal governments probably set up substantially competent institutions towards the overseeing of the member states self-interest, as well as, considering the whole country’s interest within their decision-making and legislation processes. Whereas, the central policies consequently face similar issues on a larger scale level. Nevertheless, it is illustrative that a probable collision of the EU or the federal targets and priorities. For instance: the federal government of the US in regards to the level of energy independency, while it balances with environmental protection. Introducing the EPA2005 stands a real portrayal of the level of prioritization of energy dependency substantially above the protection of the environment against any form of pollution.

A strong lobbyism within the industry is yet another added advantage of the EU and the federal environmental regulations. More particularly within a state as well as regional level, authorities ratio may substantially be influenced by the powerful industries. The EU and the federal governments may be expected to remain substantially less sensitive towards the pressure received from the industries. [76]The EU and the Federal EU law have more ability to approach with a holistic approach taken into consideration, thus may have the ability to discover a sufficient balance between the environmental as well as economic concerns as compared to the state and local authorities do. The federal and the EU environmental laws prevent the member states from presuming a ‘race-to-the-bottom’ effect. [77]An effect is based on the idea that there will rise a competition between the member states with aim of making the industry’s attractive regulatory systems, thus consequently resulting in a decision making with a substantial prioritization above the existing environmental concerns for economic incentives; thus leading to the environmental regulation degradation.

[78]Contra argumentations are seen by some of the local legislators having a tendency to enable adoption of broad policy aims and goals; as well as their willingness to efficiently ensure the protection of the environment within the individual local regions. The implementation of federal legislation at times leads to avoidable double coverage as well as errors within the correct procedure of implementation. [79]Nevertheless, amongst other states that are substantially considered the weak environmental protection system, which might be beneficial and enable saving significant expenses from the federal and the EU government set environmental frameworks.

Within the recent past decades, technological enhancement has proven that natural resource extraction has the capability to develop significantly and at a rapid rate. In cases where the state and local governments are facing challenges in the adoption of efficient legislation towards the continuation of the change and developments in technology, federal and central regulation has the ability to ensure supplying to recent legislation within the whole country, to all states. Nevertheless, the change of legislation and standards may cause negative effects within the extraction industry. [80]Environmental legislations within a federal level leads to the establishment of additional burden and obstacles for producers of shale gas to comply with. The total costs will substantially increase, together with the risks that are associated with the issues of liability are great industry demerits. Moreover, the federal or EU environmental legislation sets a minimum level of requirements and standards for effective environmental regulation throughout the region. [81]With the existence of a set minimum level of standards put in place there is a guarantee of minimal environmental protection. The member states have the ability to tailor any additional legislations, if necessary. Despite the final decision of the member states in regards to the introduction of essential environmental, the legislation at a federal level in this instance will establish a minimum level of environmental protection.

Therefore, as mentioned in the research outline, in the situation of environmental regulation in regards to the production of shale gas, the advantages and benefits of the EU legislation and the US federal remain dominant. Thus, with the presence of a set framework entailing the minimum level of requirements and standards that are provided by EU and federal legislation, environmental protection within a set minimum level is given assurance throughout the whole country. [82]Furthermore, with the presence of set environmental minimum level standards, both the federal as well as EU legislators tend to create a leveled platform for the energy industry, within each member state having a similar set environmental minimum level of protection guaranteed. The member states will have in place the present authorization that makes decisions on whether or not the state wants the introduction of a substantially stricter environmental legislation, as well as the amount of influence that will affect the as a ‘competitor’. [83]Particularly, in regards to shale gas production the federal and the EU law should have prevalence over state law. Not to mention that with the level of potential to indulge and begin production based on short terms in the different countries having varying quality levels of the environmental laws, the rapidly developing production of shale gas as well as the growing pressure towards extraction of shale gas in the states, firm and strong EU and federal environmental laws substantially decisive to enable a significant environmental protection level.

CHAPTER 3: Shale Production Legislation in the US and the EU

A particular number of regulations as well as directives within the EU, together the andUS Acts are substantially applicable to activities concerned with environment protection against the negative effects of the production of shale gas. As mention earlier, there is no US federal or EU law legislation that is specifically designed towards environmental protection against pollution due to shale gas production. This chapter will first address the complications that arise with the extraction of minerals right in both the EU and the US. It, therefore, brings forth an overview of the present USA as well as the EU applicable environmental regulations. The chapter addresses a critical examination of the directives, regulations as well as acts that extend to the individual states to enable deviation from the provisioning of the regulations given by the US federal and the EU legislation. Moreover, the chapter addresses and brings to the comparison of the competency level of both the federal US and the EU legislation towards environmental protection against the pollution effects that arise from indulging in the production of shale gas.

3.1 Natural Resources Extraction

A major issue in mineral resource production in both the US and the EU is the factor of natural resources ownership as well as the eligibility of the member states in choosing and producing their preferred energy-mix source. [84]The significant differences between the regulatory systems of the US and the EU are seen clearly in this scope. Therefore the elaboration of the regulations that exist on land ownership, as well as extract right with the minerals land-related.

3.1.1 The Right to Natural Resources Extraction in the EU

There is a ‘shared competence’ in the EU and the member states in the implementation of measures towards environmental protection. The presence of shared competence ensures that both the EU as well as the member state institutions may lead to the adoption of legislation.[85]Moreover, the member states have a distinct level of discretion to the composing of their individual energy mix sources and in the decision making of whether or not the extraction of mineral resources will be in accordance with the principle EU legislation which may not result in the definition as per this discretion. The other crucial note is that the larger number of the member states in the EU the minerals are in states ownership and ownership of landowners. Apart from the EU states ownership as the EU institution which does not have ownership of minerals and land in the EU.

[86]As per the TFEU Article 194 (2), the EU member states have the freedom to set up the permit requirements for shale gas exploitation. However, an exemption arises in regards to this discretion, this is the establishment of TFEU’ s Article 192 (2) (c). The EU council according to thisarticle have the authorization, in acting unanimously as well as after parliament revision, the adoption of the environmental legislation which significantly affects a state’s choice their energy mix. [87]Moreover, theEU member states that principal sovereignty in the decision making to decide n whether or not they indulge in extraction of natural resources, as well as choosing their own preferences in energy mix. Thus the EU environmental legislation stands as binding towards related activities, as well as, set requirements to be complied by all interested operators. Therefore, the EU member states have the freedom of decision making in regards to whether or not they will exploit and utilize their shale gas resources as per compliance to the set EU environmental law.

3.1.2. The Right to Extract Natural Resources in the US

Whereas in the EU the individual member states are the owners to the minerals, shale gas included; in the US it is different. The landowners are the ones with ownership to the in their land in the US. Therefore, in the US the landowners are privileged with the right to mineral extraction beneath their lands. Apart from the private land ownership, the US federal government is in ownership of land in a large scale basis inclusive of the minerals.

[88]As per shale gas production more often than not the landowners sign contracts with extraction companies. Therefore, the landownersprofits rely on the royalty payments received from the company extracting minerals within their land. Thus, with private ownership in place a comparison arises with the EU where the EU two actors in place with extraction of minerals, the EU governments and extracting companies. Whereas in the US three actors come together in minerals extraction, the US state governments, the landowners as well as the minerals extracting companies.[89] Shale gas production has proven to be substantially lucrative. Moreover is creates incentives for the landowners to maintain and increase positivity in their attitudes and approaches to the shale gas production processes. In comparison to the landowners in the US, the EU citizens do not benefit from compensation when their lands are utilized for mineral extraction, such as shale gas, thus leading a high level of resilience against production of shale gas.

In the US the State law brings forth regulations towards shale gas production on the non-federal lands. Therefore, each individual state effectively establishes a policy that ensures payment of royalties, as well as development of self-regulation and the natural resources extraction licensing programme.In accordance to the US federal lands, the US Constitution tends to allow and approve of the federal government to effectively work towards the protection of federal lands as well as the prevention of the federal lands against pollution resulting activities, thus allowing them to indulge in the adoption of federal acts in order to efficiently protect the federal lands.

3.2. US: Energy Policy Act 2005 (EPA2005)

[90]In order to comprehend the applicability of the US environmental law, learning about the EPA2005Act is essential. Through the EPA2005, the US federal government enables the implementation of a regime that supports production of the domicilein the US. Therefore from the year 2005, The US has the EPA2005Act in place as the primary act in regulation of production of energy. Introduction of the EPA2005 was to ensure regulation of issues such as the country’sgrowth in the economy, energy security as well as quality of the environmental basis.Furthermore, the EPA2005 enablesthe regulationof a vast range of the energy related topics, these include; efficiency in energy, production of gas and oil, tax incentives, electricity, hydropower, geothermal energy as well as energy savings.The EPA2005 affects a number of federal environmental regulations.

3.3 Permits and Authorizations

The permit procedure is the first stage of shale gas production, thus allowing extracting companies to begin the production of shale gas processes.The authorizing of issued permits, enables states to have the chance to take into account the environment in making their decision, and the states have the gap to allow them to indulge in adoption of permit requirements in environment protection against any form of environmental pollution by having in place a set of conditions by which operators are in compliance with.

3.3.1 The EU Permits for Production of Shale Gas

[91]In accordance to the member state discretion towards minerals extractions, authorisationstogether with permits are issues. The member states are discrete to enable the authorities to issue the necessary licenses as well as permits for shale gas production. [92]Thus, leading towards the probability of the EU regulations where the different individualmember states generally do not sharethe similar authorities that issuepermits and the authorization for production of shale gas; and the different member states authoritiesdeal with the granting of authorisations.

The Hydrocarbons Directive is the directive that refers the directive thatis concerned with the authorizing, issuance as well as the monitoring of shale gas extraction permits. This particulardirective has its focus on all the essential principles and the procedures which are accompanied by authorities. The Hydrocarbons Directive enables prohibition of any form of discrimination that may be present between entities in regard to the access to activities involved in extraction.

In concern to the Hydrocarbon Directive application as per consideration of environmental protection against pollution brought about by production of shale gas, neither focuseson environmental protection nor to the minimum standards levels presented in the directive. Despite Hydrocarbon Directive not particularly objected towards the protection of the environment, it is concerned with the environment.However, ‘the environment’ is not considered as a mandatory requirement for the EU member states as the states are discrete in making their decisions considering the environment in the permits issuing for hydraulic fragmentation.

EU Legislation Findings:

In the EU the member states are left with discretion through the Hydrocarbons Directive to issue the production for shale gas licenses.[93] Thus, the member states are discrete in making of their decisions in permit issuance. Therefore, power remains in the hands of the state authorities to put into consideration the environment in the process of making their decisions. With the presence of this discretion there is a path paved foran interpretational difference gaps, as well as, distinct differences in considering the environment in the process of the permit procedures which occur between the member states. In concern to shale gas production, the Hydrocarbons Directivehas established no additional threshold in relation to the environmental consideration that are existing in permitting the procedure of the individual member states authorities.

3.3.2. The US Permits for Production of Shale Gas

The individual state governments have the authority to permits issuance towards the national resources exploration. More often than not, the central state government has the assistance of the regional authorities in the permits issuing within the lower levels. [94]A number of the states presently support the issuance of the regional level authorizations, but others hold preference in havingissuance of the necessary permits and the state government has authorizations centralized.Moreover presently, with the economical impacts with the vast range of the negative effects particularly on the environment caused by the process of extraction of shale gas, a certain trend is rising that entails of the removal of authorization within the municipal levels, towards more state level centralized institutions is clear.

Most of the states mining authorities have the responsibility of permit issuing towards shale extraction. [95]Compliance of the permits are in accordance to the individual state’s environmental statutes. When the local communities have their local environmental regulations not in alignment the state law, the regulations will be superseded by the state laws. With the growth and rise in production of shale gas in the US in the past ten years alone, a number of states, authorities as well as regulators face overwhelming numbers of permit applications, and are facing issues handling the applications. Question arises as to whether the authorities have the capabilities to effectively handle the overwhelming amount of increasing pressure, and at the same time manage the maintenance of an appropriateprocess of decision-making process as well as an control efficient compliance control on the environmental regulations.

Finding US legislation:

[96]In the US all the states have entitlement to establishment their own authorities concerning the issuance of permits and authorizations for the exploitation of shale gas. In the US there is no present federal legislation is currently applicable, as well asthe federal regulation harmonizing in the process of decision-making the permit issuance for the private landowners. The privately owned lands have the mining as well as the environmental state lawsare applicable. In accordance to shale gas production within the federal lands, however the National Environmental Policy Act is applicable. Therefore, no particular federal regulation refers to the consideration of the environment in the procedure of permit processing forproduction of shale gas on private lands.

Conclusion to the comparison of environmental consideration in both the US and the EU legislation in permit processing procedure:

[97]The EU member states have no firm stand on whether or not it takesinto consideration the environment in the process of decision making process towards issuing permits for production of shale gas, the EU legislationmentions the environment, in the Hydrocarbons Directive. Whereas in the US has no federal regulation in place that is applicable on the process of decision making for the state governments issued permits. On the basis on the examination of legislation, the states make the decision without having federal guidelines in place, to determine whether or not the individual states take into consideration the environment within the process of decision making. [98]Thus leaving an inconclusive platform on towards which system between the EU and the US offers significantly a substantially protection system in comparison of the other. Nevertheless, both the US and the EU regimes do not have a mention of the environmental consideration within the processes related to permit-procedures. [99]At least the EU has the Hydrocarbons Directive in place that refers to the environment.

3.4 Impact Assessments

The primary requirement to comply to before indulging in production of shale gas is analyzing impact assessments. An impact assessment is defined as a procedure which is implemented by the prevention principle; this involves a preventive action that should be undertaken before establishment of a project that may have harmful effects to the environment. Effective assessmentof the production of shale gas environmental impacts, before issuing permits, parties may consider obligation to effectively perform thorough assessments. Thus in the EU there are two forms of the existing Environmental Impact Assessment; the first is the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment, while the second is the Environmental Impact assessment. Whereas the National Environmental Policy Act in the US is the primary regulation in concern to the environmental impact assessments.

3.4.1. The European Union Environmental Impact Assessments

(SEA) – Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive

[100]The SEA presents the implementation of the idea that during the planning stage takes in consideration the environment impacts, before adoption of the plans.The SEA Directive entails in terms of subjective programs as well as plans a set criteria list which determines the subjected activities. The broadness of the list tends to place the production of shale gaswithin its scope in the SEA. [101]Moreover, small scale production areas may be in exemption of the SEA due to its accumulative effects as a small scale production and extraction sites which may not be taken into consideration as a probability to have a great environmental effect. In a case where activities are not in subjection to mandatory SEA procedures tends not to exempt in an EIA mandatory performance. Execution of a SEA is done at a screening stage within the set planning program which allows the plan adoption. The EIA however when compared to the SEA needs listing of the potential alternatives, whereas this is not a set EIA requirement, and efficiency in the quality level of environmental reports.

(EIA) – Environmental impact assessment Directive

The EIA ensure assessment of the total accumulative effects that are probable to occur in a project to cause environmental pollution and harm. The EIA results are taken into obligation after the authorities taking into considerationin their processes of decision-making in the permit issuing for extraction of shale gas. [102]The member states have a particular level of discretion inthe introduction of requirements and thresholds for the EIA performance. It is essential to point out that EIA is not a compulsory project requirement, where the member states national laws have in place regulation details. [103]Nevertheless, is it due to the most recent technique developmentsin hydraulic fragmentation which is unlikely for member states to have already established implementation with sufficient regulation on the assessing of the activities involved in production of shale gas.

Finding EU legislation:

The member states majorly make decisions on whether the production of shale gas will stand as a potential harm inflictor to the environment; and also whether the particular case has an obligation to the requirement of SEA’s performance. [104]The member state that discretion to probable results within the vast range of distinct benchmarks between the individual member states, whether they are in requirement of SEA’s performance. The member states are discrete towards the process of decision making to choose whether or not to place an EIA in requirements, particularly when the site for production does not exceed gas of 500 tonnesdaily. Especially because of the uncertainity of production of shale gas at 500 tonnes daily.In the case where the member state could not make the decisionto have EIA performance as a requirement, especially in cases of extraction projects at a small scale basis the member state can make the decision through case-by-case examination; as well as settingcriteriaof when the EIA is necessary. Moreover, deviating in the criteria chosen for the performances of EIA may arise when the individual member states make approval to set requirements.

3.4.2 The United States Environmental Impact Assessments

(NEPA) – National Environmental Policy Act

The US has NEPA in the primary federal acts in concern to the environmental impacts assessment of environmental impacts. [105]NEPA’s aim is the obligation of all government branches to take into consideration the environmental effects in their plans,thus ensuring substantial environmental considerations in the process decision making for the federal level of the palns as well as actions. The US has (CEQ) federal Council for Environmental Quality in NEPA’s overseeing. Additionally, NEPA is in requirement to overviewing the impacts of the federal actions, and even make public comments from the citizens. This particular requirement ensures transparency as well as environmental considerations balance in the federal processes of decision-making, this includes indulging in shale gas production.

Findings US legislation:

The US states hold their right to make determination on whether or not the environmental impact assessment performance is essential. [106]There is no minimum levels of standards as well as provisions on the impact assessments which federal legislation provides to enable gas resources extraction particularly in the privately owned lands. Within one state to another there is variations in whether or not there is a requirement for an impact assessment. The examining of NEPA stands only as a requirement for the activities federally legislated. NEPA excludes production of shale gas by the EPA2005 Act, therefore the federal agencies are not in mandatory position to execute the necessary environmental assessment when beginning to indulge in activities involved in production of shale gas.

Findings Comparisons in Impact Assessments in the EU and the US Legislation

An EIA as a requirement enables assurance inthe environmental considerations which are taken intoconsideration for the state authorities process of decision-making processes before approval of the production of shale gas. [107]Even with the SEA as well as EIA directives are in concern with the harmonizing of the impact assessments amongst the member states, thus enable member sates to derogate from the presented provisions. The US has limited the federal activities as well as plans by the agencies tend to fall within NEPA’s scope. Therefore, NEPA provisionsstand as not binding to the private landowners as well as the individual states plans. Apart from the EPA2005, the federal plans to indulge in the production of shale gas stand not bounded by NEPA. The EIA and the SIA in the EU have the establishment of a substantially more coherent set law framework particularly on the environmental assessment amongst the EU member states when compared to the US.

3.5. Regulations of Air Quality and Emissions

[108]The installations formed by emissions as well as the rigs at the sites of shale extraction and production sites, and even the traffic associated to production of shale gas, thus the quality of air as well as regulations of industrial emissions are crucial to production of shale gas through hydraulic fragmentation. [109]Therefore, the EU law together with the US federal laws have set basic requirements to ensure air quality as well as leveled standards for the machinery and the instruments utilized in production of shale gas.

3.5.1. The European Union of Air Quality and Emission Regulation

(IED) – Industrial Emissions Directive

The establishment of the IED is to enable integration of the diverse approaches towards preventing as well as controlling the vast forms of industrial emissions. The IED’s primary objective is the implementation of holistic approach towards environmental protection against pollution; apart from the individual sectors all the environment’s sectors are taken into consideration when emissions permits are issued. In regards to production of shale gas the IED entails air emissions regulations, together with the wastewatersemissions results of hydraulic fragmentation.

[110]Targeted achievements are obtained by the IED through the utilization of issued emission permits by the individual member states; particularly in the mandatory environmental conditions which consists of permits that some state authorities which may allow a certain level of emissions. A vital IED feature is the implementing of the (BAT) Best Available Techniques principle.

(AAQ)- Air Quality Framework Directive

[111]The AAQenables establishment of a set framework on the regulations on air quality in the EU. The primary objective of the AAQ is the establishment of commonly utilised methods as well as criteriawithin all the individual states of the EU, to efficiently maintain and assess the air quality, promotion of air pollution reduction, together with establishment of objectives towards prevention of environment and the human health against the negative impacts of exposure to bad air quality.

Findings EU legislation:

[112]The production of shale gas is limitedly addressed by IED in instances of air-emissions which reach the strains of the IED as well as the waste waters that are resultant of the process of hydraulic fragmentation, otherwise known as ‘Hazardous Waste’. Nevertheless, the IED has a significant cover on the activities related to the production of shale gas, the IED is objectively sets out to ensure an efficient regulation throughout the EU. Furthermore, in the EU the AAQ has seta framework of minimum level of standards of requirements to attain air quality. Moreover, the AAQ has not set up expected standards for the individualshale gas extraction sites, hence; it is indirectly resulting in the additional necessary requirements for production of shale gas.

3.5.2 The United States Air Quality and Emission Regulation

(CAA)- Clean Air Act

The CAA is described by the federal law regulations of the air emissions. Moreover its establishment was to enhance the protection of the public welfare as well as health against air pollution. [113]In accordance to the CAA ,the EPA has the requirement to set establishment of limitations to air pollution throughout the whole country. Therefore the States as well as the local governments are to be in compliance with the set limitations so as to attain monitoring of the air quality together with the inspection of the extraction and production industries.

Findings US legislation:

In accordance to the CAA, the EPA holds a crucial role in the regulations of emissions by the shale gas production sites. Setting minimum levels of standards for equipment to be utilized in hydraulic fragmentation processes with a federal level, thus the regulatory regime stands applicable throughout the individual states. Since the CAA itself is not directly placed in the emissions regulations from te production of shale gas, particularly because it is limited to setting goals towards achieving air quality.

Findings comparison of air emissions in theEU & US legislation

[114]The IED directive stands as a highly effective tool in the regulations of pollutant emissions in the air, particularly by industries. For the IED to have effect, the overall sum of the environmental pollution pollutants have to be considered; moreover it is clear whether all the shale gas production site will reach the required thresholds of the IED directive. Ensuring IED applicability, the production of shale gas should be added to IED annex. [115]The AAQ has no direct regulation of production of shale gas, through the AAQ the member state have the requirement towards maintaining a particular set air quality. Moreover, hydraulic fragmentation caused missions hamper the individual member states towards achievement of their set targets under the AAQ directive; thus indirectly portraying its importance to production of shale gas.

3.6. Regulation on Water

The large amount of impact on our environment. Sometimes I find myself moving from the city and take a walk in the countryside where we have trees and fresh water utilized in the hydraulic fragmentation processes environmental regulation on water thus becomes critical towards achieving and attaining an effective environmental protection system in place against the pollution resulting from processes in the production of shale gas. [116]First of all, the underground water injection, with water entailing ‘fracking’-fluids, together with the wastewaters injection that results from the process of hydraulic fragmentation which is in high probabilities towards contamination of groundwater resources. Secondly, the large wastewaters amounts as well as the storm waters that result from the process of extraction are significantly hazardous pollutants to the surface waters. In both the USand the EU there are extensive regulations on the earth’s surface, as well as the groundeffects of company privatization in productivity growth and performance output. This article discusses about the waters are in regulation of the standards of water as well as the controlling the waste waters discharge.

3.6.1.The EURegulation on Water

(WFD) – Water-framework Directive

The WFD basically brings forth the requirement through national legislation within all the member state, which enables the protection of all the regions upon which lakes, rivers as well as streams flow. The WFD clearly mentions three particular sources and regions of organizational culture according to Deiser, R. (2009p.229) is derived from people who created it. At price water; these are groundwater, surface water, as well aswater within protected areas. [117]In accordance to the WFD the member states are obligated to the implementation of the necessary and most basic measures within national legislation. This refer to particular measures which establishesthe minimum requirements in standards of water quality. Furthermore, the WFD brings forwards the requirement of national legislation designing to accommodate the WFD general objectives being achieved throughout all the member state of the EU.

(MWD)- Mining Waste Directive

The MWD entails of the responsibility of mine wastes caretaking through the requirements of a management plans that areconveniently drawn by the associated operators standing as a precondition to attain a permit to indulge in production of shale gas. [118]Permits that are set for the storage of mining wastes, for instance, the wastewaters derived from the processes involved in hydraulic fragmentation are issued before beginning any stage of activities in extraction as well as production. Therefore, the MWD is objected towards the prevention of the environment against pollution caused by mining wastes. Since the waste wasters are resulting waste products from the process of extraction, the MWD stands applicable particularly because of the waste waters retrieved from the process of hydraulic fragmentation.

(DWD)- Drinking Water Directive

In accordance to DWD , there is establishments of chemical parameters for the water resources. The water utilized in as well as that that results from the process of hydraulic fragmentation has a high probability of contaminating the drinking water resources. [119]The primary objectives set by the DWD is the protection of drinking water to efficiently ensure maintenance of the a status for drinking water which is healthy, tasty and clean. Achieving this objective DWD has set minimum levels set standards for the components that may be present in drinking water. The member statesare prohibited from implementation of lower standards within their individual national legislation, however they are free to have introduction of greater levels of standards.

(GWD)- Groundwater directive

The GWD provides an effective system of regulation on protection of groundwater against pollution by hazardous substances. The GWD has a requirement for implementation of set measures towards the prevention as well as limitation of groundwater pollution by the member states. In accordance to the GWD the member states are in obligation towards monitoring and protecting their individual groundwater resources. The GWD has in place two different ways of discharging which are categorized into ‘indirect’ and ‘direct’ discharging. The direct discharging involves substance insertion into the groundwater without necessarily having percolation underground. Whereas indirect discharging defines the groundwater contamination after exposure to percolation. With the risks involved in indirect discharging, investigations are carried out and national authorities authorizes may then consider authorisation for the substances discharging.

Findings EU legislation:

The production of shale gas they have the member states approving to the wastewater injections. Nevertheless, the waste waters injection may contain ‘fracking’-fluids which is highly in restriction by the diverse EU water-directives. The DWD gives no approval to derogations of any form apart from those considered ‘exceptional circumstances’, although it is a rare occurrence for production of shale gas to be in qualification as a will most likely be placed as ‘planned activity’.Therefore, as per principle no production of shale gas can be indulged in the DWD protected regions.

3.6.2. United States Regulation on Water

(SWDA)- Safe Water Drinking Act

The SWDA pertains of set health associated standards in accordance to drinking water quality in the US. The EPA through the SWDA authorizes a set of minimum level of requirements. [120]Therefore the EPA is in charge of setting the nationwide standards for the water treatments requirements as well as the quality of tap water. In accordance to the SWDA, the state governments are given approval to implementation of a stricter level of standards as compared to those EPA set standards..

(CWA)- Clean Water Act

The CWA enables the prohibition against discharging wastewaters into the water bodies. The CWA has the primary objective towards the prevention of water resources against water runoffs, otherwise known as storm waters that are released during the process of hydraulic fragmentation. [121]The CWA works towards controlling of the level of releases into the water bodies through an existing system known as ‘point sources’. The point sources are limited only to those state authorities wastewaters release, therefore this particular system ensure an efficient control as well as maintenance of water against pollution.

Findings US legislation:

Both the SWDA and the CWA are put in place nationally with national set standards as well as minimum set requirements for the level of water quality. Therefore both of the regulations are implemented through administration of control-systems through the EPA. At first sight this seems to be an effective method to set minimum standards for water quality at federal level.

Findings comparison EU and US legislation

[122]Even with the EU’s substantially extensive legal framework in place of on water; including the protection of the water bodies against pollution from shale gas production stands majorly under the individually set regulations by the member state. The GWD together with the DWD work towards supporting the WFD in the establishment of the minimum setstandards in the EU. The member states that the freedom to make their decisions towards approving of underground injections as well as other shale gas production associated pollutions pertained that the set levels of standards are achieved with the minimum standards as per the EU directives implementation.[123]The US on the other hand has the CWA in place to ensure monitoring of the surface water level of discharges. Moreover, the SWDA empowers the EPA to have in place nationally set minimum levels of standards as well as indirect regulation of the pollution caused by the the processes associated with extraction of shale gas extraction. Therefore in this case the EU has in place a system that is significantly binding as compared to the US towards protection of the environment.

3.7. Regulation on chemicals

In the production of shale gas through the utilization of hydraulic fragmentation chemicals are a critical component to the entire extraction process. Disclosure is the major issue in relation to the utilization of chemicals in the process. However, disclosure is highly necessary for vast purposes in the case of chemical released in the environment.

3.7.1. European Union Regulation on Chemicals

(REACH) – Registration Evaluation AuthorizationAnd Restriction Of Chemicals

REACH is serves a stronghold in the EU legislation of laws in concern to chemicals. [124]Therefore REACH is effectively applicable to all the substances, thus is in requirement registration of all substances before hand so as approve their existence in the EU market in the EU. Moreover, REACH primary objective is to gather the necessary technical information on chemical substances through utilization of the technical dossiers of every substance inclusive of the data available as well as the details. Thus, REACH is focused towards establishment of a firm and effective system to ensure enclosure of all the chemicals utilized in the process of shale gas extraction.

Findings EU legislation:

[125]REACH stands as directly binding for the EU member state regulation. Particularly because Reach is a legislated regulation of the EU. Therefore, it entails of minimal possibilities in regards to the diverse interpretations as well as implementation by the individual member states.[126] In accordance to the chemicals utilized in shale gas production, REACH establishes two vital facets. Firstly,the chemicals utilised in hydraulic fragmentation process are listed and documented by the ECA. Second of all, all the associated the operators are to be educated in awareness of potential the risks as well as the chemical, and are thus obligated to undertake the necessary measures towards ensuringcontrol towards the risks in relation to human health together with the environment.

3.7.2. The United States Regulation on Chemicals

[127]The US presently are limited to state law regulation on chemicals disclosure, particularly because no federal act have provided regulation towards this specific issue. Therefore the regulations put in place are highly diverse and are defined as per the different states and their state laws as well as regulations. Upon which some of the states are in requirement of the chemicals disclosure utilized in shale gas extraction, whereas others states do not have this as a requirement in place.

(FRAC)- Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness ofChemicals Act

[128]The growing concern of the chemicals utilized in the processes of shale production , FRAC act is proposed and is presently pending at the US Congress. Nevertheless, FRAC entails of inter alia amendments of the SWDA presently in existence.

(EPCRA) – Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act

The EPCRA present the provisions of federal as well as state government legislated regulations with aim of providing the public with access to vast and diverse information of chemicals that are released into the environment with the shale extraction processes. Moreove the EPCRA has the requirement of parties that will release, store or utilize hazardous chemicals, mandatory have to make a report on their activities. The information gives a detailed report which provides data on all the utilized chemicals, as well as their effects on the health of both the public and the environment.

Findings US legislation:

FRAC-act introduction leads to effective monitoring as well as establishment of an indepth review of the chemicals usage in the US. Further it provides sufficient access to data on the chemical necessary for stakeholders in occurrences of emergencies. FRAC has brought forward a more organised, federal ‘disclosure’-system to be planned for establishment. The US however have not approved of FRAC for implementation. Therefore each state has its own set regulations in place.

Findings Comparison EU &US Regulation on Chemicals

REACH is an EUregulation, that is effectively implemented and directly applicable to all its member states. The parties involved in the production of shale gas are thus in compliance with REACH.Apart from the enforcements as well as scheduling of REACH implementation , the EU member states are in no position to derogate from REACH and its requirements particularly because REACH stands as directly binding. Whereas the US, is in the process of waiting for approval for implementation of FRAC to establish an effective federal regulation obligating the producers of shale gas to have an in depth report of the utilization of chemicals and creating chemical data access.[129] The ERCRA however has excluded the production of shale gas from its requirements in regards to environmental regulations. Therefore with the lack of federal regulation in place, and being limited to state regulations in applicability, it paves way to establishments of a substantially weak federal regime in place on the utilization as well as disclosure of chemicals. Thus, resulting in divergent state regulations in regards to the utilization as well as the chemicals disclosure.

Conclusion

This research has brought into conclusion the prolonged answer to EU’s environmental legal framework has in establishment a highly sufficient as well as united legislatory framework on the topic of environmental protection against the effects of shale gas production, as compared to the federal legal framework present in the US. The research thus clarifies first of all that having established a centralized legal regime in working towards the effects of shale production through the utilization of hydraulic fragmentation is highly preferable in tackling the issue in concern to the environment, as the EU does.However, there are a number of challenges that arise as well with the centralized authorization such as complexity and rigidity to any change within the system.

When making a comparison to the present environmental legislator framework in place in both the US as well as the EU in applicability to the production of shalegas, the diversity that presents itself in the two legal systems and even in the implementation within the member states is crucial to take into account. Both the EU and the US brought the strengths as well as weaknesses in their systems.

Even with the federal legislation having the upper hand at establishing a significantlycoherent legislation amongst the USstates,it failed at effectively having in place a more effective regulation system against the activities related to shale gas production and its environmental effects. With the present EU environmental legal frameworkestablished,a substantially more effective actions will be taken towards prevention of the environment against any harm at central level.Nevertheless, extraction of shale gasthrough the process of hydraulic fragmentation is yet to occur with the EU, but the region has the ability to effectively protect the environment through its framework, particularly when brought in comparison with the US legal framework that is currently in place.

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  21. Ibid..,
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  105. Fligstein, Neil D, Haveman, Heather A, & Kluttz, Daniel N. (2017). A Fractured Society: The Socio-Legal Environment of Fracking in the United States. eScholarship, University of California.
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  122. Kolb, R. W. (2013). The natural gas revolution: At the pivot of the world’s energy future.
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