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On Fractured Grounds: the Economic Viability of Planning as a Local Regulatory Tool for Hydraulic Fracturing

Huang, Joy

As states trend towards a legal hegemony on hydraulic fracturing regulations, municipalities are pushing back through the use of zoning codes and setbacks to curtail the proliferation of oil and gas wells. This study looks at the viability of zoning setbacks as a tool to foster better social and environmental outcomes for regions with grappling with the encroachment of fracking near public drinking water sources, and examines the shifts in regulatory frameworks that may or may not have led to unchecked geospatial distribution of unconventional wells. Moreover, this study uses econometric and shift share analysis to evaluate existing claims of income and employment benefits touted by proponents of increased fracking activity for decreased municipal oversight, focusing specifically on Texas and Pennsylvania. The results of the study point towards a lack of significant impact of an increase in well frequency and well density on median incomes and employment, and that setbacks up to 1 mile from groundwater sources would not significantly diminish extraction rights in Texas or Pennsylvania.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Vanky, Anthony
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 13, 2020