University of Colorado at Boulder
BMP of Oil and Gas Development


Comparative Legal Database

Comparative Legal Database


LawAtlas Database of Water Quality Regulations

Improved technological developments in directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as “fracking,” have resulted in an oil and gas production boom nationwide. In October 2013, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that the United States would surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas by the end of the year. The boom has resulted in oil and gas development in regions unaccustomed to the industry as well as in regions that have a century-long relationship with oil and gas extraction. However, wastewater discharges, hydraulic fracturing fluid releases, improper casing/cementing, and other accidental spills pose potential water quality risks in areas where directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies are utilized. Rapid development of oil and gas wells, particularly in urban and suburban areas, coupled with the practice of hydraulic fracturing, has sparked concern for water quality and an interest in laws designed to protect water quality.

This comparative legal database includes statutes and regulations from Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. These states overlay major shale formations such as the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Greater Green River, Haynesville, Mancos, Marcellus, Niobrara, Permian, Piceance, Powder River, San Juan, Uinta, and Woodford. State and local governments in these jurisdictions are experiencing new or increased oil and gas development, and there is tremendous value in looking at other jurisdictions to guide statutory construction and rulemaking.

To explore statutes and regulations pertaining to water quality, please visit:, and choose the Environmental Health dropdown menu to access the water quality topics of your choice.


Protecting Water Quality

Unconventional Development

Comparative Legal Database

State by State