Contact Kai A. Schafft at Penn State University, Department of Education Policy Studies, 310B Rackley Building, University Park, PA 16802, 814-863-2031, e-mail: email@example.com. This work was funded in part through a grant from the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research and support from the Penn State Children, Youth and Family Consortium.
The Relationship between Marcellus Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania and Local Perceptions of Risk and Opportunity†
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2013
Copyright © 2013, by the Rural Sociological Society
Volume 78, Issue 2, pages 143–166, June 2013
How to Cite
Schafft, K. A., Borlu, Y. and Glenna, L. (2013), The Relationship between Marcellus Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania and Local Perceptions of Risk and Opportunity. Rural Sociology, 78: 143–166. doi: 10.1111/ruso.12004
- Issue published online: 23 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 18 JAN 2013
- Penn State Marcellus Center
- Penn State Children, Youth and Family Consortium
Recent advances in gas and oil drilling technology have led to dramatic boomtown development in many rural areas that have endured extended periods of economic decline. In Pennsylvania's Marcellus gas fields, the recent development of unconventional shale gas resources has not been without controversy. It has been variously framed as a major opportunity for economic revitalization at the local and regional levels and energy independence at the national level, but also as a significant environmental risk, with uncertain and uneven economic benefits. We use data from a survey conducted in 309 school districts located within Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region to study the ways local stakeholders perceive both risk and opportunity associated with gas extraction from Marcellus Shale. Our analyses indicate that there is a strong positive association between perceptions of risk and opportunity associated with gas extraction. Further, the intensity of perception of both risk and opportunity is directly associated with the amount of local drilling, suggesting the complexity of local contexts within which local stakeholders evaluate rapid boomtown-associated community change. In total, these findings complicate the framing of unconventional gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region, and indeed boomtown growth overall, as fundamentally polarizing issues.