The Comparative Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing – Local and State Government Elites, the Courts, and Public Opinion
Building: Jean-Brillant Floor: 3 Room: B-3295
The increasingly widespread application of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) has now become a hotly contested political issue in parts of North America and across the world. This process involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep below the surface at very high pressure in order to break sedimentary rock and release the trapped oil and gas. While these methods are the subject of scientific controversy, governments – at various levels – vary widely in the way they have decided to regulate, tax and in some cases, ban the use of these methods in their jurisdiction. This panel brings together scholars working from a variety of different perspectives to examine the politics of hydraulic fracturing in a comparative context. Specifically, papers in this panel address the following questions: How have different governments responded to the issue of hydraulic fracturing in their respective jurisdictions? What accounts for policy change, divergence or convergence across jurisdictions with significant unconventional oil and gas reserves? What roles have judicial decisions and institutional property right regimes played in shaping the interests of key actors? Does public opinion on the issue matter, and what is the role of spatial proximity in the overall formation of attitudes? Applying a range of theories, and drawing on different cases at multiple scales, papers will provide a rich cross-jurisdictional analysis and advance the state of knowledge characterizing this increasingly contested policy field.