For this project, “Public Concern and Support for Regulation of UOGD: Individual and Contextual Influences on Texas Residents,” Hannibal and his ISTPP research partners examine the effect of county-level characteristics on individuals’ opinions and policy preferences about hydraulic fracturing in Texas. The rise of unconventional oil and gas development has led to an increase in attention and focus on the oil and gas industry in recent years. Much media attention and focus have been directed at hydraulic fracturing. Since its discovery, hydraulic fracturing has been popular and has had a prominent role in oil and gas development in Texas.
Using data from ISTPP’s 2015 Water-Energy-Food Nexus Public Opinion Survey combined with data from FracFocus, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Drought Monitor, and the Willmott and Feddema climatic moisture index, the researchers determine whether proximity to a well and natural environmental conditions influence concerns and policy preferences about fracking. Using multilevel modeling techniques, the team finds mixed results. Some measures of proximity and drought influence attitudes about fracking, while others do not. They conclude their study with some policy recommendations, note some problems and concerns about the lack of transparency around hydraulic fracturing, and address existing limitations in data collection and availability of data for widespread analysis.