If we look behind the numbers on energy consumption, how much of that declining consumption is attributable to increases in energy efficiency and how much is attributable to a poor economy? If we look more closely at shale gas production, particularly when we consider hydraulic fracturing, what environmental costs are associated with developing this domestic resource? And, from a broader perspective, what role should natural gas, including shale gas, play in the country's clean energy future? Will we continue to favor fossil-fuel incumbents at the expense of new entrants in renewable resources and energy efficiency? This Article will address these questions by first describing the clean energy transition in Parts I-III. Next, in Part IV, the Article will describe the role of natural gas and shale gas in our contemporary energy picture. Finally, in Part V, the Article will identify some of the costs attributable to shale gas production, including the possibility that our current focus on shale gas will simply result in a new hydrocarbon future at the expense of a vibrant and productive clean energy economy. The Article concludes in Part VI with some recommendations for future shale gas regulation. While acknowledging the reality that shale gas will play an increasingly larger role in our energy portfolio, the Article argues that natural gas should not be considered a clean energy resource.
Joseph P. Tomain, Shale Gas and Clean Energy Policy, 63 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 1187 (2013).