Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation: State-Level Policy Factors and Regulatory Stringency

By John Iselin. Reed College. 

Hydraulic fracturing is a method of oil and natural gas extraction that allows access to new sources of fossil fuels, but raises new and difficult questions of environmental damage. Due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and historic trends, states are the primary regulators of this new type of drilling. This paper estimates what state-level factors determine the stringency of state rules. To do this, a measure of regulatory stringency is created and incorporated in an econometric model. The results of this model are inconclusive due to the small sample size, but preliminary results indicate that current and historic trends in resource extraction in a state contribute to stronger “on-paper” regulation.

Read the full paper here.