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  • Davis Charles
    Substate Federalism and Fracking Policies: Does State Regulatory Authority Trump Local Land Use Autonomy?
    in Environmental Science & Technology , Volume 48, Issue 15, August ,  2014 ,  8397-8403
    State officials responsible for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations used in the production of oil and gas resources will inevitably confront a key policy issue; that is, to what extent can statewide regulations be developed without reducing land use autonomy typically exercised by local officials? Most state regulators have historically recognized the economic importance of industry jobs and favor the adoption of uniform regulatory requirements even if these rules preempt local policymaking authority. Conversely, many local officials seek to preserve land use autonomy to provide a greater measure of protection for public health and environmental quality goals. This paper examines how public officials in three states—Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Texas—address the question of state control versus local autonomy through their efforts to shape fracking policy decisions. While local officials within Texas have succeeded in developing fracking ordinances with relatively little interference from state regulators, Colorado and Pennsylvania have adopted a tougher policy stance favoring the retention of preemptive oil and gas statutes. Key factors that account for between state differences in fracking policy decisions include the strength of home rule provisions, gubernatorial involvement, and the degree of local experience with industrial economic activities.
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