Our Shale Gas Research Group formed in 2013 to explore the widespread and important societal implications of the development of natural gas from unconventional sources.
Commonly referred to as “shale gas,” this unconventional gas development (UGD) is based on advanced technologies including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). As development progresses, we investigate how the existing and evolving regulatory framework governs the risks associated. We consider questions about regulating the risks to other natural resources, including underground and surface sources of drinking water, the possibility of creating earthquakes, along with air and land pollution.
Additionally, we investigate the relationship of public perceptions to development and how these reflect on perceptions of risk and energy usage. We are also investigating the contrasting aspects of local, state, and federal oversight in this rapidly changing energy resource development. And, we are comparing UGD in the United States and China.
Our research is characterized by interdisciplinary perspectives in the natural and social sciences, a corresponding methodological diversity, an international composition of participants, and close collaboration with the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC). In cooperation with IRGC and the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS), we plan to organize a transatlantic round table on UGD. Our goal is to contribute toward the enhancement of regulatory oversight while preserving the benefits of shale gas development to society.