Social Implications of Hydraulic Fracturing

Friday, 14 February 2014
Comiskey (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Gene Theodori , Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Technological advances in horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing are two primary factors associated with spawning the unprecedented shale gas boom during the past decade in the United States. Accompanying this tremendous surge in shale gas production is a barrage of controversy. At the center of the debate is the well stimulation/completion process known as hydraulic fracturing. Data collected in general population surveys from random samples of individuals in Texas and Pennsylvania are used to empirically examine both objective and perceptual social implications associated with the exploration and production of shale gas. Particularly, these data are used to empirically examine issues associated with the public’s views on the process of hydraulic fracturing, the management and disposal of frac flowback wastewaters, and frac flowback wastewater treatment technologies. Lastly, contributions made to self-reported knowledge of hydraulic fracturing by eight different sources and the amount of trust in each of the same sources to deliver unbiased, factual knowledge about the topic are investigated. The findings from this presentation should prove beneficial to the energy industry, community leaders, government and regulatory agencies, environmental and non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Possible implications and recommendations of the results are advanced, as are suggestions for future research projects and outreach programs.