Panel Paper: Franking in the Empire State: Environmental Policy Coproduction and Policy Type

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 10:55 AM
Enchantment Ballroom C (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Stephen Bird, Ross Miller and Bebonchu Aterns, Clarkson University
The emergence of natural gas and shale oil “fracking” have changed the world’s energy paradigm both as global opportunity and risk. We examine shale drilling from the perspective of local decision-making and coproduction. Many environmental policy issues require extensive technical knowledge, as well as an informed interdisciplinary perspective. The extensive resources/expertise required to make sound decisions often necessitate government involvement. Simultaneously, public involvement and participation are also needed for successful policy implementation. We investigate how policy-makers reconcile expert knowledge with lay/local knowledge via a co-production model, in order to build a broader consensus around environmental policy decisions. We focus on the specific challenges that rural, municipal governments have when it comes to crafting environmental policy through this collaborative effort.

We present results from surveys and semi-structured stakeholder interviews with public officials and informed participants/observers in four New York municipalities in the Southern Tier. This area is expected to have extensive fracking activity should the fracking moratorium be lifted. Two have passed municipal bans, and two others have passed motions in support of hydraulic fracturing. The research design uses New York as a test bed specifically because extensive fracking activity has not yet been implemented in the state. We examine the ways in which these smaller municipalities (all four are population < 10k) have grappled with lack of resources, policy uncertainty, and their effects on regulatory decision-making. We focus on evidence that challenges the importance of political beliefs and affiliation as key drivers of results. Instead, we demonstrate how economics and policy type can have significant influence on citizen coproduction.

Full Paper: