Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing: The Effects of Issue Redefinition
The possibility of extracting shale gas using hydraulic fracturing on a large scale has invoked a public and political debate about the creation of an appropriate regulatory regime for such activities at the European level. The issues of shale gas extraction and the use of hydraulic fracturing were brought onto the EU policy agenda by the European Council. The policy image created by the European Council was a positive one, which linked shale gas production with the security of energy supply. The resulting policy process developed around a different policy image that highlighted the uncertain risks related to hydraulic fracturing in regard to human health and the environment. This redefinition of the policy image was primarily the result of the European Parliament’s involvement in the policy process as well as the expansion of the political conflict over this issue. While the potential risks of hydraulic fracturing dominated the policy process, the overall outcome of the policy process was a mild reform of the existing legal basis. From this, it follows that issue redefinition certainly resulted in changes in the dynamics of the policy process but had limited effects on the outcome of this process.
KeywordsPermeability Methane Migration Europe Hydrocarbon
The research leading to this chapter has received funding from the project entitled “Agenda Setting in European Energy Policy: Actors, Preferences and Strategies” funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation (Grant Number: Az. 10.13.2.141).
- Alemanno, A. (2007). The shaping of the precautionary principle by European Courts: From scientific uncertainty to legal certainty. Bocconi legal studies research paper.Google Scholar
- Baumgartner, F. R., & Jones, B. D. (1993). Agendas and instability in American politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- BIO Intelligence Service. (2013). Analysis and presentation of the results of the public consultation unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas) in Europe. Final report prepared for European Commission DG environment. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
- Bomberg, E. (2013). The comparative politics of fracking: Networks and framing in the US and Europe. APSA 2013 Annual meeting paper, American political science association 2013 annual meeting. http://ssrn.com/abstract=2301196.
- Bomberg, E. (2014). Shale governance in the European Union: Principles and practice. Issues in Energy and Environmental Policy, 15. http://closup.umich.edu.
- Committee of the Regions. (2013). Fracking: Local and regional authorities call for compulsory environmental impact assessments. Press Release CoR/13/93.en.Google Scholar
- Cournil, C. (2013). Adoption of legislation on shale gas in france: Hesitation and/or progress? European Energy and Environmental Law Review, 22(4), 141–151.Google Scholar
- Ederli, L. (2014). Die Novellierung der europäischen Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfungs-Richtlinie [The reform of the European environmental impact assessment directive]. Heidelberg (Unpublished Manuscript).Google Scholar
- Engeli, I., Green-Pedersen, C., & Larsen, L. T. (Eds.). (2012a). Morality politics in Western Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2000). Communication from the commission on the precautionary principle. Brussels, 2 February 2000. Commission of the European Communities. COM(2000) 1.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2011). A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050. Ref. COM (2011) 112 final. Brussels, 8 March 2011.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2012a). Roadmap: Environmental assessment framework to enable a safe and secure unconventional hydrocarbon (e.g. shale gas) extraction. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
- European Commission (2012b). Midday express of 2012-09-07 news from the European Commission’s midday briefing.Google Scholar
- European Council. (2011). Conclusions of the Presidency. EUCO 2/11. Brussels: European Council. Google Scholar
- European Parliament. (2012a). European Parliament resolution of 21 November 2012 on the environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction activities. 2011/2308(INI). Strasbourg: European Parliament.Google Scholar
- European Parliament. (2012b). Shale gas: Member states need robust rules on fracking, say MEPs. Press release energy 21 November 2012.Google Scholar
- European Parliament. (2013). Shale gas: New fracking projects must pass environmental test. Press release environment 9 October 2013.Google Scholar
- Fisher, E., Jones, J., & von Schomberg, R. (Eds.). (2006). Implementing the precautionary principle: Perspectives and prospects. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Greens/European Green (2012). Open letter. http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Images/Topics/Energy_and_transport/Letter%20to%20Commissioner%20Oettinger.pdf. Accessed 26 April 2014.
- Knill, C., & Tosun, J. (2012). Public policy: A new introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Lechtenböhmer, S., Altmann, M., Capito, S., Matra, Z., Weindrorf, W., & Zittel, W. (2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human health. Brussels: European Parliament.Google Scholar
- Milieu Ltd. (2013). Regulatory provisions governing key aspects of unconventional gas extraction in selected member states—final report. Brussels: Milieu Ltd.Google Scholar
- Philippe & Partners. (2011). Final report on unconventional gas in Europe.Google Scholar
- Rahm, D. (2011). Regulating hydraulic fracturing in shale gas plays: The case of Texas. Energy Policy, 39(5), 2974–2981.Google Scholar
- Schattschneider, E. E. (1960). The semisovereign people: A realist’s view of democracy in America. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
- Tosun, J., & Solorio, I. (2011). Exploring the energy-environment relationship in the EU: Perspectives and challenges for theorizing and empirical analysis. In J. Tosun & I. Solorio (eds.) Energy and environment in Europe: Assessing a complex relationship (Vol. 15, Issue 7). European Integration online Papers, Special Mini-Issue No 1.Google Scholar
- Tsebelis, G. (2002). Veto players: How political institutions work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Weile, R. (2014). Beyond the fracking ban in France. Journal of European Management & Public Affairs Studies, 1(2), 11–16.Google Scholar