Shaping Unconventional Gas Regulation: Industry Influence and Risks of Agency Capture in Texas, Colorado and Queensland

Environmental and Planning Law Journal (2019) 36(5) 510-530

21 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2019

See all articles by Cameron Holley

Cameron Holley

UNSW Sydney, Faculty of Law, Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre, Global Water Institute; University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law & Justice

Tariro Mutongwizo

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law & Justice

Clifford Shearing

University of Cape Town; Griffith Institute of Criminology; University of Montreal, School of Criminology; University of New South Wales; University of Toronto

Amanda Kennedy

Independent

Date Written: October 11, 2019

Abstract

Unconventional gas has quickly become a significant energy resource and a site of contestation over the nature and outcome its regulatory processes. Central to this contest are issues of power and capture and the implications for achieving sustainable energy regulation. The influence of dominant industry players can be a serious obstacle for transitions beyond established energy regimes, and can negatively affect the sustainability of energy policy and implementation. Drawing on interviews across three case studies in Texas, Colorado and Queensland, this article examines perceptions of unconventional gas regulators and regulations. It finds a general view from interviewees that economic interests within the unconventional gas industry have influenced regulation, and that this influence is a significant explanation for the failures of regulation and policy to address a number of environmental and societal concerns. Variations are identified between the cases in terms of the extent of possible industry influence, but all three cases reveal common points of vulnerability, including economic arrangements, suboptimal organisational structures, expertise imbalances, limited agency funding and “revolving doors” of staff. The findings suggest that fully addressing these challenges through law alone will be difficult, and instead highlights three governance pathways that could be pursued beyond state law to achieve more effective and sustainable unconventional gas governance.

Keywords: Unconventional Gas, Regulatory Capture, Energy Transitions, Energy Water Food Nexus

Suggested Citation

Holley, Cameron and Mutongwizo, Tariro and Shearing, Clifford D and Kennedy, Amanda, Shaping Unconventional Gas Regulation: Industry Influence and Risks of Agency Capture in Texas, Colorado and Queensland (October 11, 2019). Environmental and Planning Law Journal (2019) 36(5) 510-530, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3467892 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3467892

Cameron Holley (Contact Author)

UNSW Sydney, Faculty of Law, Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre, Global Water Institute ( email )

UNSW
Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law & Justice ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Tariro Mutongwizo

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law & Justice ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Clifford D Shearing

University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://www.publiclaw.uct.ac.za/pbl/staff/cshearing

Griffith Institute of Criminology ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://experts.griffith.edu.au/academic/c.shearing

University of Montreal, School of Criminology ( email )

C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

University of New South Wales ( email )

Sydney
Australia

University of Toronto ( email )

Robarts Library
130 St. George Street, Room 8001
Toronto, ON M5S 1A5
Canada
416-978-3720 Ext. 234 (Phone)
416-978-4195 (Fax)

Amanda Kennedy

Independent ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
52
Abstract Views
506
rank
541,950
PlumX Metrics