Public Perceptions of Shale Gas Extraction and Hydraulic Fracturing in New York and Pennsylvania

September 2014

Given the large economic, environmental, and social implications from the issue of shale gas and the process to extract it of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling (or “fracking” as it is commonly known), it is not surprising that this matter has become a major political issue in both Pennsylvania and New York. In 2014 the issue has become particularly prominent, with major policy alternatives being proposed in both Albany and Harrisburg that would dramatically alter the future of shale gas extraction in two of the most populous and energy-rich states in the nation. Both states have continued to debate the relative risks and benefits of shale development in weighing possible next policy steps.

It is against this backdrop that the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) has sought to gain insight into the views of New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians regarding shale gas and hydraulic fracturing. The survey examines comparative views on such matters as public awareness of hydraulic fracturing, general support for shale gas drilling, and perceptions of economic and environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing within the Marcellus Shale play. In addition, the study examines what New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians know and think about hydraulic fracturing activity in their neighboring states and their views about the effects that hydraulic fracturing across the border may have on their lives.