Course Project

This paper is primarily a report. The report portion should be objective and unbiased. The final section is an opinion section where you may include your own ideas on the subject.

To understand the legal and environmental issues raised by hydraulic fracturing. To determine what you believe is the most important environmental issue. 

To be able to distinguish state and federal laws and regulations; to become familiar with proposed federal laws; to be able to compare and contrast state law approaches; to examine at least one other country’s laws and regulations on the issue; to understand the scope of a recent executive order on hydraulic fracturing. 

To understand the place of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas as that relates to U.S. energy needs. 

To form and state your own informed opinion on what hydraulic fracturing laws and regulations should be put in place; to explain with clear reasoning and supporting evidence why you think such laws are necessary. 

Your final paper should address each of these objectives. The report should include a discussion of the legal and environmental issues raised by hydraulic fracturing, including what you believe to be the most important issue; it should contain a discussion of federal and state regulations that address hydraulic fracturing. It should compare the varying approaches of at least two states. It should compare U.S. and foreign approaches to hydraulic fracturing regulation. It should address the scope of the president’s executive order on hydraulic fracturing (see Doc Sharing). 

It should discuss the place of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas in meeting U.S. energy needs; it should discuss economic impact (could be local, regional, or national) It should conclude with your own informed opinion on what hydraulic fracturing laws and regulations should be put in place, supported with clear reasoning and relevant facts.


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Microsoft Word document, 7-8 pages in length, all formatting in accordance with the current edition of the APA Style Manual.

Include a cover page, table of contents, body of the report, summary or conclusion, references.

Check your work for spelling and grammar.  Carefully proofread your paper for spelling and grammar and double check all citations for accuracy.  Be sure you have correctly cited all references.

In addition to citing to any of the material which is supplied for the weekly deliverables or which is placed for your use in Doc Sharing or placed for your use in the Webliography, you must cite to at least four, scholarly journal sources which are the product of your own research. Your research should be conducted in the DeVry library.  You may use no more than one website as a source.  All sources should be listed on the last page titled References.

Carefully review and comply with DeVry’s Academic Integrity Policy to assist you in avoiding plagiarism.

Deliverables are due according to the schedule found under Milestones.  The final paper is due Week 6.  Submit your paper to the Week 6 Dropbox at the top of this page.  For instructions on how to use the Dropbox, read these step-by-step instructions or watch this  Dropbox Tutorial.


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The total points for this Course Project are 160. Failure to deliver any of the following week’s deliverables will result in a 10-point loss for that week. This means you must satisfactorily deliver all of the Week 2 requirements or lose 10 points; failure to deliver all of Week 3 requirements will result in the loss of another 10 points and failure to deliver all of Week 4 requirements will result in the loss of another 10 points.

Week 2: Form a working definition of hydraulic fracturing. Demonstrate familiarity with how hydraulic fracturing is actually performed. Distinguish gas and oil fracturing. Show where hydraulic fracturing is currently underway in the United States, Europe, and South America.

Write a working definition of hydraulic fracturing.

Write a brief description of how the process works (25—50 words).

Chapter 8 of the president’s economic report for 2012, at page 256 details some of the economic effects of hydraulic fracturing. Oil fracking in the Bakken Shale in and around Williston, North Dakota has had dramatic economic effects. The May, 2012 issue of the Oil and Gas Journal had a lengthy article on the Williston boom. Using such material (and any other source material you may find) write a 2–3 paragraph summary of the economic impact of hydraulic fracturing.

Provide links or citations to other material you have found that might be useful in writing about the above points.

Submit your work to the Course Project Deliverables Dropbox in Week 2.

Week 3: What are the legal issues raised by hydraulic fracturing? The environmental issues? What part does (will) hydraulic fracturing play in meeting U.S. energy needs? Fracking and the Safe Drinking Water Act issues are discussed extensively in this Congressional Research Service report: See also Chapter 8 of the president’s economic report referenced above.

The Louisiana Bar Journal Vol. 59, No. 4, page 253, reports other fracking issues.

Isolate three or four such issues and report them in bullet-point form. Each point should state the issue and a brief explanation (no more than one paragraph).

Example: Dumping toxic waste—Uncontrolled dumping of toxic waste into waterways has created dead zones (places where marine and aquatic life cannot survive) worldwide, including an area in the Gulf of Mexico the size of Lake Ontario.

Provide links or citations to at least two other sources you have found that will be useful in writing about the above points. Submit your work to the Course Project Deliverables Dropbox in Week 3.

Week 4: Briefly, in 2–3 paragraphs, answer the following: What is Pennsylvania Act 13? Compare it to Vermont’s May 2012 legislation: Compare these with the New York State decision on local control of fracking found in Doc Sharing at <Middlefield_decision.pdf.>.

Using the studies, such as The Final Report on Unconventional Gas in Europe, write a brief 1–2 paragraph statement that discusses at least one specific country’s regulations (see page 5 for general information and pages 48, 49, and 50 for country-specific information.) 

On April 13, 2012, President Obama issued this executive order; briefly, in 1–2 paragraphs, explain what the order provides. You can find the executive order at this address (or look in Doc Sharing).

Provide links or citations to at least two other sources you have found that will be useful in writing about the above points. Submit your work to the Course Project Deliverables Dropbox in Week 4.

Week 6—Submit your final paper by placing it in the Dropbox for Week 6.

Grading Rubrics

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First Deliverable

Second Deliverable

Third Deliverable





See Precise instructions under Milestones.

Deliverables are due in Weeks 2, 3, and 4.

Final Paper is due in Week 6.

Documentation and Formatting



Organization and Cohesiveness











A quality paper will meet or exceed all of the above requirements.


Best Practices

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Begin by getting an overall view of your subject. Do some general reading on hydraulic fracturing; learn what it is and why it is important. Understand the process and its impact on energy issues and environmental issues.

Pay attention to the weekly deliverables. They will not only help you to learn about the subject in an organized way, they will also help to form a foundation for your paper.

Before you begin to write, think about how you want to organize your paper. Many students prepare an outline; you should at least jot down the important points you plan to cover. If you are having trouble getting started, begin by writing the section you find easiest or most interesting—you can organize and assemble the sections of the paper into their proper order later. 

After you’ve completed your first draft, put the paper aside for a day—or at least a few hours. Then go back and read your material—is it well-organized? Have you covered all the important points? Does the work flow? Are transitions smooth? Do sections need editing? Are they clear? Are they too short; too long? Once you feel that content is okay, go back and proofread the paper; look carefully for spelling and grammar errors. Do not depend on spell-check to find all spelling errors—if you don’t believe me, run this sentence through spell-check: “ If yew us only spell-check, yew can never no for sure that their r know spelling miss takes.” 

Finally, cite-check your paper. Don’t try to revise, edit, proofread, and cite-check all at one time. You will miss something. Your introduction should get the reader’s attention. Introduce the subject and say why it’s important. (“Hydraulic fracturing could yield a natural gas supply to meet all U.S. needs for the next 100 years.”) In this first paragraph or two, preview the main ideas—give a map of your paper to the reader. (“In this paper I will discuss A and B and show how C will play an important role in the future.”) Be sure to maintain an academic tone. Don’t use slang. Don’t use familiar terms. (Don’t write: “It was completely stupid of XYZ not to follow the rules.” Do write: “XYZ Corporation made a fatally careless move in failing to follow EPA regulations.”)

Make the body of your paper readable by using subheads. Organize the body of the paper to conform to the map you used in the introduction. As you shift sub-topics, be sure to let the reader know where you’re headed. Remember to give credit if you use photos, graphs, maps, etc. Your summary should recapitulate the main ideas and main points in the paper. 

If you’ve included a personal viewpoint, the last part of the summary should briefly recapitulate your opinion. (“We can only hope that future regulation will neither inhibit the industry nor fail to protect our natural resources.”)

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