The purpose of this paper is to attempt to ascertain how people who are experiencing the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract gas, define it. A case study is done on the town of Canton in Central Pennsylvania.
A combination of in-depth interviews and content analysis of town hall meetings in the area, and content analysis of articles in the local newspaper (Canton Sentinel) were used to get a sense of how the people who live in this area are experiencing the increase in natural gas extraction. The study attempts to use the notion of framing and interpretive methodology to make sense of how some people in a small town experience the process.
The major finding is that those that benefit directly from the industry tend to have more positive evaluation than those that do not benefit directly. Even those that benefited directly had concerns about the environmental impact of fracking, however have not as yet developed an appropriate narrative with which to articulate their concerns in a coherent manner.
Few studies have been done that attempt to take into consideration the point of view of those who are directly experiencing the operation of the gas companies. How local residents are interpreting the impact of the gas industry is only just emerging however understanding that process would be paramount for public policy creation after the gas industry has matured and begins to decline.
The authors would like to thank our three research assistants who worked on this process with us: Emily Snyder, Zach Zoller and Dylan Furlano. The authors also want to give a special word of thanks to Rev Rick Philips ELCA Lutheran Pastor who provided a lot of the initial information that allowed us to frame this project.
Ramsaran, D. and Rousu, M. (2016), "Experiencing the impact of Marcellus Shale: a case study", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 43 No. 5, pp. 517-531. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-10-2014-0199Download as .RIS
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