Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law launches new blog, UT Law Grid

The Law School’s Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law has rolled out a cutting-edge legal blog with an inaugural post on hydraulic fracturing from Professor David Spence.

UT Law Grid will contribute to vital academic and policy debates in the Energy Center’s core subject areas with regular updates from University of Texas professors, prominent practitioners, lawmakers, and policy experts. In particular, as the Texas Legislature begins its 83rd session in January 2013, the Center will use the blog to participate in relevant policy discussions around water and energy issues.

“The Center already acts as an academic node, bringing together leading lights in energy and environmental law,” said David Spence, an associate professor at the Law School and the McCombs School of Business.  “It was only natural for the Center to have a virtual presence that reflects its role within the university.”

Spence’s post explores issues surrounding the most game-changing innovation in the energy industry this century, hydraulic fracturing.  Specifically, the post considers environmental benefits of natural gas and hydraulic fracturing compared to the use and extraction of coal and argues that anti-fracking laws may protect the local at the expense of the broader environment.

“David Spence has stature in energy law and, with connections to both the business and the law schools, embodies the inter-disciplinary spirit of UT Law Grid,” said Melinda Taylor, the Energy Center’s executive director and a senior lecturer at the Law School.  “His post could have easily been an opinion piece in a top newspaper, and we are grateful that he has chosen our blog as a forum for his work.”

Going forward, UT Law Grid will build upon Spence’s piece with related posts on fracking land-use laws and new fracking regulations that the Texas Railroad Commission is creating. The scope of the blog will be as encompassing as that of the Energy Center itself, however.

The blog will take advantage of the Energy Center’s location, in the capital of the state that is home to the energy industry, but it will have global vision and will draw from the Energy Center’s international activities, particularly in Latin America.

“We have to prepare our students to practice in areas such as energy and environmental law that are increasingly global in scope,” said Ward Farnsworth, dean of the Law School and John Jeffers Research Chair in Law. “Fortunately, the University of Texas has an outstanding reputation around the world, and the Energy Center and David Spence are making that reputation even stronger.”

UT Law Grid, with Spence’s piece and other posts, is available on the Energy Center’s home page, at

About the Energy Center:  The Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law at the University of Texas School of Law offers an extensive and unique curriculum to students interested in these areas of the law. The Center is also a focal point for interdisciplinary analysis, debate, and discussion of the legal and policy issues relevant to energy, arbitration, and the environment.

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