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Food, Fracking, and Folly
Arizona State Law Journal (2018)
  • Melissa D. Mortazavi
Few industries in the United States carry the clout and capital of the oil and gas and agricultural sectors. Economic behemoths, their booms and busts shape the destinies of states, define national policy, and secure the life or death of small towns across the United States. Like it or not, the agriculture and oil and gas industries have strong lobbies and vehement and mobilized constituencies.
Recent years have seen both sectors facing public push-back on modern trends in extraction, growth, and methods of production. In response to these developments, these industries have used their considerable political capital to seek new laws that curtail the ability of opposing parties to use state and local legislation or ordinances to interfere with certain industry interests. These industry-specific legal developments are often happening
concurrently, at times in states that have both a vibrant agricultural and oil and gas sector.
This article makes several unique contributions. First, it builds on existing administrative legal discourse regarding “regulatory islands,” the concept of state to state regulatory isolation, by highlighting an unacknowledged hole in the regulatory fabric: where federal law is silent, intra-state regulatory isolation is equally as harmful as extra-state regulatory islands. Thus, legal and administrative coordination is not only necessary across state lines, but within a state to achieve optimal policy goals. Second, this article describes and analyzes how oil and gas and agriculture function as regulatory battleships (rather than passive islands) within state legal systems—autonomous from federal regulation, isolated, and potentially battering up against each other in a pond of finite resources. Finally, this article is the first to provide three normative administrative frameworks to address the problems of piecemeal regulation in the oil and gas and agriculture context. Ultimately, this article concludes that treating these industries as insular,rather than interrelated, is likely to be unsustainable—administratively,
environmentally, and economically.
  • fracking,
  • oil and gas lobby,
  • regulatory islands,
  • intra-state regulation,
  • regulatory isolation,
  • agricultural industry,
  • oil and gas industry,
  • regulation
Publication Date
Citation Information
Melissa D. Mortazavi. "Food, Fracking, and Folly" Arizona State Law Journal Vol. 50 (2018) p. 617
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