Corporate Social Responsibility in the Age of Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States and the United Kingdom
Brewer, Mark K.
INTRODUCTION|An ever-increasing body of literature seeks to define, justify, and influence the purpose of a corporation, fueling a battle between proponents of shareholder value theory on the one hand and those arguing for a broader view of the corporation and its stakeholders ("stakeholder theory") on the other hand. The manner in which law defines, depicts, and measures a corporation is of acute importance where laws and regulations struggle to keep pace with technology and innovation. Over the past few years, the production of unconventional gas trapped in deep underground rock layers has become an increasingly important source of energy in the United States and may have a similar potential in the United Kingdom. Hydraulic fracturing (commonly called "fracking") is a process by which large quantities of water, sand, or other propping agent and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart rock layers to release shale gas. Environmental hazards include gas leaking into the atmosphere, gas or contaminants from wells or fractures seeping into aquifers, and surface spills of contaminated water. While the practice has been used for decades, discovery of significant reserves, coupled with improved technology, has propelled the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States into an unparalleled source of energy. Although available data suggests the United Kingdom only possesses moderate shale gas reserves, hydraulic fracturing could potentially contribute to a significant number of jobs in areas of high unemployment, provide a source of tax revenue, and reduce the cost of energy in the country...
Creighton University School of Law