The Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing in Germany: Party Competition at Different Levels of Government
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Hydraulic fracturing has been practiced in Germany for decades, and several attempts have been made to legalize and regulate new drilling methods, which eventually led to the approval of a law to effectively ban this activity in 2016. In this study, we explore the characteristics of the German political debate on hydraulic fracturing. Our explanatory model, which is grounded in the advocacy coalition framework, is based on two arguments. First, the uncertainty surrounding the use and effects of hydraulic fracturing prompts opponents to argue for the use of the precautionary principle, which is typically invoked in German political discourse when effects are highly uncertain. Second, party competition takes place at the federal as well as the federal states level. The blurring of party competition boundaries typically leads to highly volatile advocacy coalitions.
KeywordsHydraulic Fracture Precautionary Principle Environmental Impact Assessment Advocacy Coalition Discourse Network
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