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Copyright (c) 2011 The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, Carlisle, PA
Penn State Environmental Law Review

ARTICLE: Regulatory Takings in the Shale Gas Patch

Spring, 2011

Penn State Environmental Law Review

19 Penn St. Envtl. L. Rev. 193


Patrick C. McGinley*


I. Introduction
Until recently unlocked by new drilling technology, vast potential wealth was secreted thousands of feet underground in ancient shale strata - an energy source unrecognized by the world at the dawn of the Twenty First Century. The discovery of enormous shale gas reservoirs in the United States has triggered what some have termed a "gas rush" - likened to the great Gold "rush" of the latter half of the nineteenth century in the American West. 1 A Philadelphia Inquirer article titled Pa.'s Natural Gas Rush reported in early 2011:

Natural gas companies have been drilling in Pennsylvania for more than a century, but Marcellus Shale exploration is unlike anything before... . As Marcellus Shale operators move into full-scale production, several trends are emerging that underscore the huge transformation under way in Pennsylvania... . The bigger wells require larger amounts of water, steel - and money. Operators say they are spending $ 4 million to $ 6 million per well. The drilling is producing greater environmental anxiety, measured by a growing opposition to hydraulic fracturing, the method used to extract gas from shale. But investors are still bullish... . "The Marcellus is going to be far more prolific than we ever imagined," said ... [the] managing director of ... an investment company. "It's almost scary how good the Marcellus is. It's supereconomic." 2
Pennsylvania is not alone in experiencing a nascent natural shale gas boom. 3 Shale gas "plays" underlie wide swaths of surface lands stretching west ...
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