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University of Michigan Fracking Poll

University of Michigan Fracking Poll

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Published by jmicek
A poll by the University of Michigan examining Pennsylvanians' attitudes on natural gas drilling.
A poll by the University of Michigan examining Pennsylvanians' attitudes on natural gas drilling.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: jmicek on May 16, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tis report presents the views o Michigan and Pennsylvania citizens on issues related to the extraction o natural gas through hydraulicracturing, which is more commonly known as “racking.” Hydraulic racturing and new horizontal drilling techniques are creatingsignicant opportunities to expand natural gas production across the United States. Te absence o comprehensive ederal legislationregarding hydraulic racturing has placed the regulation o unconventional gas drilling primarily within the purview o state and localgovernments. Tis report examines public opinion in Michigan and Pennsylvania on a series o issues concerning the impact o rackingon the economy, environmental protection, and inormation disclosure. Pennsylvania and Michigan have been selected as the ocus o this report because they represent states with varied levels o hydraulic racturing within their borders. Pennsylvania has emerged asone o the nation’s leaders in terms o the number o hydraulic racturing sites with extensive drilling occurring in the commonwealth,and also has high levels o public debate and policy development related to this issue. Conversely, racking has just begun to develop ona large scale within Michigan with corresponding public engagement around the matter in its early stages. Tese dierences present a valuable opportunity to examine where the publics in these two states stand on an array o issues related to racking.Te ndings are drawn rom an October and November 2012 telephone survey conducted by the Muhlenberg College Institute o PublicOpinion (Muhlenberg Institute), in collaboration with the University o Michigan Center or Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP)as part o the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) series. Tis survey secured responses rom 415 Michigan residentsand 424 Pennsylvania residents, drawn rom all regions o each state and comprising statistically-representative proles o theirrespective citizens. It examines general public attitudes on racking and also considers a series o policy options that have emerged inmany state and local governments around the nation. In October 2011, the Muhlenberg Institute and CLOSUP conducted a similarsurvey o public opinion on hydraulic racturing in Pennsylvania; where relevant, this report cites results rom the 2011 survey tohighlight trends or shis in public opinion. Tis report reviews the history and trends in the development o racking in the two states,considers potential risks posed by this process, and examines state and ederal policy roles beore turning to a detailed review o survey ndings. Parallel analysis was also conducted in the Canadian province o Quebec, but ndings rom that work will be presented inseparate publications.
Erica Brown
Research AssistantCenter or Local, State,and Urban Policy Gerald R. Ford Schoolo Public Policy University o Michiganericabro@umich.edu
Kristine Hartman
Research AssistantCenter or Local, State,and Urban Policy Gerald R. Ford Schoolo Public Policy University o Michigankristyha@umich.edu
Barry G. Rabe
 J. Ira and Nicki HarrisProessor o Public Policy Director, Center or Local,State, and Urban Policy Gerald R. Ford Schoolo Public Policy University o MichiganNon-Resident Senior Fellow Governance StudiesProgramBrookings Institutionbrabe@umich.edu
Tomas Ivacko
Program ManagerCenter or Local, State,and Urban Policy Gerald R. Ford Schoolo Public Policy University o Michigantmi@umich.edu
Christopher Borick 
 Proessor o Political ScienceDirector, MuhlenbergInstitute o Public OpinionMuhlenberg Collegecborick@muhlenberg.edu
The National Surveys onEnergy and Environment
Public Opinion on Fracking:Perspectives rom Michiganand Pennsylvania
May 2013
The Center for Local,State, and Urban Policy
Gerald R. Ford School o Public Policy >>
The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy
Key Findings
1. Citizens in Pennsylvania and Michigan hold generally positive views about the contributions that racking or natural gas hasprovided their states. Te majority o citizens in both states respond that racking has provided and will continue to providemore benets than problems or their state. Overwhelming majorities in both states believe that hydraulic racturing is very orsomewhat important to their state’s economy.2. Respondents in both states appear uncertain about the risks associated with racking, with a higher percentage orespondentsstating that experts are divided on the risks than those responding that expert perception o risk is either low or high.3. Te public’s perception o risks and benets appears to reect their experiences with racking within their state: respondents romPennsylvania are more likely to provide more specic answers to questions regarding risk and are more likely to cite local benetsthan respondents rom Michigan, a state which has seen a lower level o racking activity than Pennsylvania to this point.4. In both states, the perception o the risks o racking among certain segments o the population may be unchanged in the event o an expert determination that its risks are either high or low. Respondents appear more likely to believe an expert determination o high risk levels than low risk levels associated with hydraulic racturing.5. A threat o industry withdrawal or restricted development due to taxation or over-regulation does not appear to be credible to amajority o the public in either state.6. Respondents rom both states generally support regulation and taxation o the hydraulic racturing industry and view natural gasprimarily as a public resource. In both states, there is overwhelming support or disclosure requirements to identiy chemicalsused in racking procedures and strong support or the creation or maintenance o severance taxes assessed on the value o resources extracted through racking. A severance tax is a ee imposed by the state on the extraction o non-renewable resourcessuch as natural gas; severance taxes are separate rom and may be imposed in addition to other taxes such as income tax.7. Te majority o respondents in both states support a moratorium on shale gas extraction until there is urther understanding o itsrisks.8. Respondents in both states indicate that they would be most likely to turn to environmental groups or reliable inormation ondrilling in their state as opposed to any particular level o government, to industry sources, or to the media.9. Although condence in state elected ofcials regarding hydraulic racturing policy is generally tepid, most respondents in bothPennsylvania and Michigan express preerence or maintaining governmental decision-making authority at the state level, ratherthan at the ederal or local levels.10. In both states, Republicans are most likely to support—and Democrats are most likely to oppose—shale gas extraction whencomparing these groups with Independents. Tese diering levels o support correspond with dierent perceptions o the relativerisks and economic benets associated with racking by these groups.
Survey Report: Climate Policy Options
I. Background
Issue Overview
Pennsylvania ranks sixth and Michigan ranks 16th in natural gas production among the 33 conventional and unconventional naturalgas producing states in the country.
Unconventional gas includes gas rom shale, tight sands, and coal bed methane, all o whichrequire a method o hydraulic racturing, or racking, to access. Fracking involves injecting a mixture o water, sand, and chemicalsdeep into the ground through encased wells at high pressure to create and expand ractures in the rock, releasing trapped oil andnatural gas. Both the Energy Inormation Administration and the US Geological Survey have estimated the quantity o technically recoverable natural gas in domestic shale plays. Pennsylvania sits atop the heart o the Marcellus shale, which is the largest shale gasplay currently identied in the United States. It has an estimated 140,000 billion cubic eet o technically recoverable natural gas,approximately 88,000 billion cubic eet o which are located in Pennsylvania (see
Table 1
). Although shale gas drilling activity in thestate has ocused on the Marcellus shale, the Utica shale, which contains an estimated 38 trillion cubic eet o natural gas, underliesthe Marcellus ormation and is partially located within Pennsylvania. Te Michigan Basin, which includes parts o neighboring statesin addition to Michigan, contains 18 trillion cubic eet o natural gas; this includes Michigan’s Antrim ormation, which is located inthe state’s northern lower peninsula and contains an estimated 7,500 billion cubic eet o technically recoverable natural gas. Michiganalso contains a portion o the Utica-Collingwood shale gas ormation, which underlies a signicant portion o Michigan’s lowerpeninsula. Te reserves contained in this ormation have not yet been quantied but have nonetheless generated interest in the state.
Table 1
US Shale Gas Plays, Lower 48 States
Source: Energy Inormation Administration based on data rom several published studies.Updated: May 9, 2011

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