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It's a Nuisance: The Future of Fracking Litigation in the Wake of Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc.
Va. Envtl. L.J. (2014)
  • Hilary M Goldberg
  • Melanie S. Williams, California State University, Northridge
  • Deborah Cours

The recent decision of Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc. promises to be a milestone in “fracking,” the process of extracting gas through hydraulic fracturing. Viewed variously as a relatively clean and plentiful energy source or as a serious environmental threat, the public, businesses, environmental organizations, legislators, and legal scholars have explored, debated, legislated, and litigated the practice. Parr, however, is the first fracking case to go to a jury verdict. Its decision (on a single cause of action of private nuisance) related not specifically to the practice of fracking, but instead to the types of emanations (noise, traffic, dust, odors) resulting from many types of activities. Is Parr, as critics allege, “the fracking case that wasn’t” or does the jury’s verdict signal a significant threat to the practice? An examination of behavioral economics and the dynamics of loss aversion, framing, identification and controllability effects may help explain the jury’s response. At the least, Parr signals that public uncertainty will increase the liability and political costs of fracking.

  • Fracking,
  • hydraulic fracturing,
  • environment,
  • oil and gas industry,
  • energy,
  • environmental litigation
Publication Date
Citation Information
Hilary M. Goldberg, Melanie Stallings Williams and Deborah Cours, "It's a Nuisance: The Future of Fracking Litigation in the Wake of Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc." __ Va. Envtl. L.J. __ (2014). The SelectedWorks of Melanie S. Williams Available at: