What the Frack? Development of the Controversy About Hydraulic Fracking for Shale Gas in the Netherlands
42 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 27, 2013
In 2009 Cuadrilla, a gas drilling company requested a permit for a test drilling for shale gas in the community of Boxtel, the Netherlands. At that point Cuadrilla already received a concession of the national government for drilling at several places. The local town council negotiated the conditions under which this drilling would be acceptable to them – for example in a designated area for industrial development and with financial compensation – and indeed gave Cuadrilla the permission to start building a test drilling location. It was after this permitting process, that local and national policy controversy over this issue developed.
In this paper, I theoretically and empirically explore the development of this societal and scientific controversy from an interpretative approach. I study frame shifts in the debate. In addition I focus on the boundary work – the interpretation and rhetorical demarcations of facts – that was part of the frame shifts. I demonstrate how the framing of the issue, and boundary work part of it, contributed to the emergence of this controversy, and how that resulted in a temporary national moratorium on fracking for shale gas.
Keywords: controversy, framing, shale gas, hydraulic fracking
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