Theses Master's

Revolution Shale Gas: The Right Energy Path?...

Frederiksen, Mette

This thesis discusses in what way hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale gas in the U.S. is impacting human rights. As several environmental disasters have shown, the oil and gas industry can bring severe environmental harm to nearby communities, and thereby also impact a wide range of human rights. However, impacts from environmental pollution for instance caused by oil spills are not addressed as a human rights issue in the U.S. This thesis therefore discusses why they should be addressed as such. In recent years the oil and gas industry has boomed in form of shale gas extraction by the use of hydraulic fracturing. This development is presented as a positive step for U.S. energy policy, because it can make the U.S. independent of foreign oil and create jobs for American workers. It is furthermore claimed by the U.S. government that shale gas is a climate change-friendly energy source. However, residents and local organizations on the other hand claim that the fracking boom also causes harmful impacts on local communities, in particular negative health effects for those residing near fracking sites. In spite of this the fracking industry continues to be exempted from several federal protective provisions, as well as local organizations claim that state regulations also are insufficient. Based on the increasing amount of reports and scientific studies that stress actual and potential negative impacts, and the consistent failures in regulation and enforcement by government agencies, this thesis argues that it is critical that fracking is addressed as a human rights issue.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Radon, Jenik R.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
December 8, 2016


Full title: Revolution Shale Gas: The Right Energy Path? A discussion of Hydraulic Fracturing’s Impact on Human Rights and Why Environmental Pollution from Oil and Gas Extraction in the U.S. is a Human Rights Issue