Proximity to Development and Public Support for Hydraulic Fracturing
23 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2017 Last revised: 3 Jun 2017
Date Written: January 12, 2017
Research on the relationship between proximity to energy development and public support for development has produced conflicting results. Understanding this relationship in the context of unconventional oil and gas development via hydraulic fracturing becomes even murkier because of limited data on well locations. Drawing on a unique dataset that includes geo-coded data from nationally representative surveys and high-resolution well location data, we examine how proximity to new unconventional oil and gas wells shapes familiarity with and support for hydraulic fracturing. We show that proximity to new development is linked to both greater familiarity with and more support for hydraulic fracturing – a relationship that is similar in magnitude to the marginal effects of income, gender and age. We discuss the implications of these findings for effective risk communication, as well as the importance of incorporating spatial analysis into public opinion research on public perceptions of energy development.
Keywords: Unconventional Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing; Public Opinion; Proximity
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