Localities and their natural gas : stories of problem diffusion, state preemption, and local government capacity
Author(s)Agatstein, Jessica C
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The rapid rise of oil and gas production in the United States poses a new set of policy challenges for local governments. Striving to balance the goals of encouraging economic growth and mitigating its side effects, local governments across the country-especially the small, rural communities where most drilling occurs-are developing an impressive array of policy tools to limit the consequences of oil and gas drilling. In this thesis, I explore how local governments have mitigated the side effects of the oil and gas extraction process in very different ways, using case studies from Washington County, Idaho; Dryden, New York; and Erie, Colorado. I find that these localities' stories reflect three important trends in local policy-making. First, the amount of regulatory authority states grant to localities helps explain why local governments are choosing different policy options, though state preemption is still not preventing localities from regulating oil and gas. Second, in the process of regulating drilling, local governments are undergoing what I call "problem diffusion." Rather than participating in policy diffusion, in which neighboring communities replicate policy solutions, all three localities developed their policies based on their neighbors' problems with oil and gas. And third, these localities were able to create and pass complex oil and gas policies because they didn't have the financial or technical constraints often attributed to local governments of small, rural communities. Instead, they actively navigated around existing state statutes; did extensive research on policy options, aided by a wealth of online resources; and even prompted state legislative action.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 39-41).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.