The Struggle for Shared Governance in Hydraulic Fracturing Policy: An Interstate Comparison of Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado

February 2016
Carolyn Rice, CLOSUP Policy Analyst

This paper seeks to explore the issue of unilateral state authority over hydraulic fracturing policy and the possibility/ merits of a shared government model that incorporates local input. This analysis explores the balance of state and local power in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado and considers how the political, economic, and cultural integration of the oil and gas industry influences the stringency of state regulation and the states’ amenability to integrating local input into their decision-making. The report evaluates the merits and limitations of unilateral state control, particularly with regard to the disparate distribution of the costs and benefits between local communities and the state, the state’s consideration of the heightened preference intensities of local residents, and the state’s capacity to mitigate the varied risks associated with hydraulic fracturing.