Induced Seismicity in Shale Development: Overview and Current Legal Issues

Sponsored by the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium



In 2014, there were 659 earthquakes with a magnitude of three or greater (M3+) in the central and eastern United States.  Prior to 2008, this geographic area experienced an average of 21 M3+ earthquakes annually.  The relationship between this increased seismic activity and unconventional oil and gas development has been a subject of interest for academic researchers, state regulatory agencies, private landowners, and others involved with the oil and gas industry.  This webinar will review the concept of induced seismicity along with recent scientific literature addressing potential causes for the recent increase in seismic events.  The webinar also will discuss the corresponding legal response, including private litigation and regulatory actions taken by various state agencies across the United States.



This webinar was recorded on February 17, 2016.  To listen to a recording of the webinar, click here.



Ross Pifer J.D., LL.M. 

Director, Center for Agricultural & Shale Law

Ross Pifer is a Clinical Law Professor at Penn State Law where he teaches agricultural law and serves as Director of the Center for Agricultural & Shale Law.  Ross has presented widely throughout Pennsylvania, as well as nationally and internationally, on shale gas and agricultural law topics to audiences comprised of judges, attorneys, legislators, government officials, landowners, and the general public. His research interests are shale gas development and the interface between agricultural and residential development as well as GMO labeling laws. He served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel, and has advised military personnel and commands in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, and Germany while on active duty with the U.S. Army JAG Corps at the Netherlands Law Center.   Among other publications, Ross has written an article on GMO labeling to be published in the Penn State Law Review.   Ross earned an LL.M. from the University of Arkansas School of Law Agricultural & Food Law Program, and is an active member of the American Agricultural Law Association.


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