Contours of Coalition Politics on Hydraulic Fracturing Within the United States of America

  • Tanya Heikkila
  • Christopher M. Weible


This chapter analyzes coalition politics and public policy in the USA. The data are based on an online survey of policy actors in Texas, New York, and Colorado. Two coalitions are identified based on respondents’ positions on hydraulic fracturing, problem perceptions, and interaction patterns. One coalition consists of proponents of hydraulic fracturing and they prefer to see it expanded or continued. The second coalition consists of opponents of hydraulic fracturing and they prefer to see it stopped or limited. The two coalitions have moderate differences in their resource capacities, interaction patterns, and strategies. Public policy in the three states reflects the characteristics of the two coalitions with a ban in New York and the passage of regulations in Colorado and Texas.


Hydraulic Fracture Policy Actor Problem Perception Proponent Coalition Advocacy Coalition Framework 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baumgartner, Frank R., and Beth L. Leach. 1998. Basic Interests: The Importance of Group in Politics and in Political Science. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berman, Arthur, and Lyndon Pittinger. 2014. Resource Assessment of Potentially Producible Natural Gas Volumes from the Marcellus Shale, State of New York. Prepared for the League of Women Voters of New York State, by Labyrinth Associates, April 10.
  3. Boudet, Hilary, Christopher Clarke, Dylan Bugden, Edward Maibach, Connie Roser-Renouf, and Anthony Leiserowitz. 2014. ‘Fracking’ Controversy and Communication: Using National Survey Data to Understand Public Perceptions of Hydraulic Fracturing. Energy Policy 65: 57–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cook, Jeffrey J. 2014. Who’s Regulating Who? Analyzing Fracking Policy in Colorado, Wyoming, and Louisiana. Environmental Practice 16: 102–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cotton, Matthew, Imogen Rattle, and James Van Alstine. 2014. Shale Gas Policy in the United Kingdom: An Argumentative Discourse Analysis. Energy Policy 73: 427–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davis, Charles. 2012. The Politics of “Fracking”: Regulating Natural Gas Drilling Practices in Colorado and Texas. Review of Policy Research 29: 177–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis, Charles, and Sandra Davis. 1988. Analyzing Change in Public Lands Policymaking: From Subsystems to Advocacy Coalitions. Policy Studies Journal 17(1): 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davis, Charles, and Jonathan M. Fisk. 2014. Energy Abundance or Environmental Worries? Analyzing Public Support from Fracking in the United States. Review of Policy Research 31: 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elgin, Dallas, and Christopher M. Weible. 2013. Stakeholder Analysis of Colorado Climate and Energy Issues using Policy Analytical Capacity and the Advocacy Coalition Framework. Review of Policy Research 30(1): 116–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellison, Brian A. 1998. The ACF and Implementation of the Endangered Species Act: A Case Study in Western Water Politics. Policy Studies Journal 26(1): 11–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heikkila, Tanya, Christopher M. Weible, and Jonathan Pierce. 2014. Exploring the Policy Narratives and Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing in New York. In The Science of Stories: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework, ed. M. McBeth, M. Jones, and E. Shanahan, 185–206. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Henry, Adam D. 2011. Ideology, Power, and the Structure of Policy Networks. Policy Studies Journal 39(3): 361–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Henry, Adam, Karin Ingold, Daniel Nohrstedt, and Christopher M. Weible. 2014. Policy Change in Comparative Contexts: Applying the Advocacy Coalition Framework Outside of Western Europe and North America. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 16(4): 299–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jaspal, Rusi, and Brigitte Nerlich. 2013. Fracking in the UK Press: Threat Dynamics in an Unfolding Debate. Public Understanding of Science 23: 348–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jenkins-Smith, Hank. 1990. Democratic Politics and Policy Analysis. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  16. Jenkins-Smith, Hank, Gilbert St. Clair, and Brian Woods. 1991. Explaining Change in Policy Subsystems: Analysis of Coalition Stability and Defection over Time. American Journal of Political Science 35(November): 851–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jenkins-Smith, Hank, Daniel Nohrstedt, Christopher M. Weible, and Paul Sabatier. 2014. The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Foundations, Evolution, and Ongoing Research. In Theories of the Policy Process, 3rd ed, ed. P. Sabatier and C. Weible, 183–223. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  18. Leach, William D., and Paul A. Sabatier. 2005. To Trust an Adversary: Integrating Rational and Psychological Models of Collaborative Policymaking. American Political Science Review 99(4): 491–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mazur, Allan. 2014. How Did the Fracking Controversy Emerge in the Period 2010–2012? Public Understanding of Science. Advanced online publication, 1–16.Google Scholar
  20. McFarland, Andrew S. 2004. Neopluralism: The Evolution of Political Process Theory. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  21. Parsons, Wayne. 1995. Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  22. Rabe, Barry G., and Christopher Borick. 2013. Conventional Politics for Unconventional Drilling? Lessons from Pennsylvania’s Early Move into Fracking Policy Development. Review of Policy Research 30(3): 321–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rahm, Dianne. 2011. Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing in Shale Gas Plays: The Case of Texas. Energy Policy 39: 2974–2981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Richardson, Nathan, Madeline Gottlieb, Alan Krupnick, and Hannah Wiseman. 2013. The State of Shale Gas Regulation. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.Google Scholar
  25. Sabatier, Paul A. 1988. An Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Change and the Role of Policy-Oriented Learning Therein. Policy Sciences 21: 129–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sabatier, Paul A. 1998. The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Revisions and Relevance for Europe. Journal of European Public Policy 5(1): 98–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schattschneider, Elmer E. 1960. The Semi-Sovereign People. New York, NY: Holt.Google Scholar
  28. Scheberle, Denise. 2004. Federalism and Environmental Policy: Trust and the Politics of Implementation, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Smith, Michael F., and Denise P. Ferguson. 2013. “Fracking Democracy”: Issue Management and Locus of Policy Decision-making in the Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Debate. Public Relations Review 39: 377–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Theodori, Gene L., A.E. Luloff, Fern K. Willits, and David B. Burnett. 2014. Hydraulic Fracturing and the Management, Disposal, and Reuse of Rrac Flowback Waters: Views from the Public in the Marcellus Shale. Energy Research and Social Science 2: 66–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tilly, Charles. 2007. Democracy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2014a. Colorado State Profile and Energy Analysis. Washington, DC: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  33. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2014b. Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production. Washington, DC: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  34. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2014c. Texas Field Production of Crude Oil (Data File). Washington, DC: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  35. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2015. Drilling Productivity Report for Key Tight Oil and Shale Gas Regions. Washington, DC: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  36. Wallach v. Town of Dryden. 2014. 23 N.Y. 3d 728 (New York, June 30, 2014).Google Scholar
  37. Warner, B., and Shapiro, J. 2013. Fractured, Fragmented Federalism: A Study in Fracking Regulatory Policy. Publius: The Journal of Federalism 43(3): 474–496.Google Scholar
  38. Weible, Christopher M. 2007. An Advocacy Coalition Framework Approach to Stakeholder Analysis: Understanding the Political Context of California Marine Protected Area Policy. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 17: 95–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Weible, Christopher M., Paul A. Sabatier, and Andrew Pattison. 2010. Harnessing Expert-Based Information for Learning and the Sustainable Management of Complex Socio-Ecological Systems. Environmental Science and Policy 13: 522–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Weible, Christopher M., and Tanya Heikkila. 2014. Fracking Resolution in New York – Escalation of Fracking Politics Across the Nation. The Conversation, December 22.
  41. Zafonte, Matthew, and Paul A. Sabatier. 1998. Shared Beliefs and Imposed Interdependencies as Determinants of Ally Networks in Overlapping Subsystems. Journal of Theoretical Politics 10(4): 473–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zafonte, Matthew, and Paul A. Sabatier. 2004. Short-Term Versus Long-Term Coalitions in the Policy Process: Automotive Pollution Control, 1963–1989. The Policy Studies Journal 32(1): 75–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Heikkila
    • 1
  • Christopher M. Weible
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations