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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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Published by: jmicek on May 16, 2013
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05/16/2013

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Introduction
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.
Authors
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 >>
 
2
www.closup.umich.edu
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.
 
3
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.
1
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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