Panel Paper: Anger Towards Environmentalists and Public Support for Hydraulic Fracturing

Saturday, November 9, 2019
I.M Pei Tower: Terrace Level, Beverly (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jonathan Pierce, University of Colorado, Denver and Nicole Schmitt, Alaska Wildlife Alliance

Public support for oil and gas drilling activities such as hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) has been well studied, focusing on a wide range of geographic and socio-economic factors. Past research has also examined public perceptions of the oil and gas industry and government. However, past research has not examined public perceptions of the environmental movement, specifically environmentalists. This research examines the emotion of anger towards environmentalists in association with support for hydraulic fracturing. This is done using a national online survey sample (n = 250). Using multiple regression analysis, we found that anger towards environmentalists better explains support for hydraulic fracturing than familiarity, sex, age, education, household income, media consumption, political ideology, or cultural worldviews. Furthermore, we found that this anger is associated with environmentalists making respondents feel morally inferior. Based on these findings, we discuss recommendations for future research, risk communication, environmental advocacy, and energy policy.