The Politics of 'Fracking': Regulating Natural Gas Drilling Practices in Colorado and Texas

16 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 12 Apr 2015

See all articles by Charles Davis

Charles Davis

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Date Written: April 19, 2011


This paper focuses on the politics of regulating natural gas fracking operations in Colorado and Texas. Between state differences in the economic importance of natural gas production, political traditions, environmental impacts of drilling activities, and local governmental responses to risk reduction, and entrepreneurial activities are discussed in relation to policymaking initiatives. In the concluding section, I suggest that Colorado’s regulatory approach offers a greater degree of environmental protection than Texas. Key reforms adopted in 2007-8 can be largely attributed to electoral victories that ensured unified party control over state government and the determined efforts of the pro-environmental governor to make changes in both the regulatory commission and in the substance of natural gas drilling policies.

Keywords: energy policy, regulation, state politics

JEL Classification: D73

Suggested Citation

Davis, Charles, The Politics of 'Fracking': Regulating Natural Gas Drilling Practices in Colorado and Texas (April 19, 2011). Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Charles Davis (Contact Author)

Colorado State University, Fort Collins ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

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