Identifier

etd-07122012-100858

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Hydraulic fracturing has received increased attention over the past decade. The rapid adoption of this technique coupled with accurate directional horizontal drilling has unlocked several US shale formations. Amid the possibility of 100% domestically sourced natural gas, public perception varies and opponents question the long-term risks and repercussions of the technique. This thesis will provide context to some of the variation seen in the public perception of hydraulic fracturing among three states: Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Two surveys of Louisiana stakeholders were conducted in order to rank the state in terms of acceptance amongst previously conducted surveys of its two peers. Results show that of the three states, Louisianans have accepted hydraulic fracturing the most and Pennsylvanians the least. Factors have been identified that may explain differences in acceptance among these states. These include well densities, potentially affected populations, previous environmental contamination experiences, variations among state regulatory response, and the personal histories and experiences of each state’s populations. Louisiana’s unique history with oil and gas, high exposure to energy development, and vital role in the United State’s energy market may all be contributing factors for the acceptance of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling of shale as reasonable practices. Meanwhile, the increased frequency of fracking accidents and negative portrayal in documentaries may both contribute to Pennsylvania’s low rate of acceptance.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reams, Margaret

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