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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

Regional and Local Policy Issues

Reports and Publications


A recent Buechner Institute for Governance report titled "Local, Regional, and State Government Perspectives on Hydraulic Fracturing-Related Oil and Gas Development" presents findings from a pilot study survey conducted in 2011-2012 across multiple states.

The survey findings highlight the different concerns of local government and non-local governments with respect to hydraulic fracturing-related oil and gas development in six areas: Short and long-term economic Impacts, land-use and local control, community capacity and social dynamics, emergency management, and environmental concerns. While the pilot study does not offer definitive policy positions, it provides evidence to support future research that investigates the unique concerns and needs of communities and local governments in a debate traditionally held at the state and national level.


Project Descirption


The Buechner Institute for Governance and the Wirth Chair located at the ​School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, in partnership with the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) seek to provide local governments with pertinent information and research relating to shale gas development so they can better respond to the new industry.  As a research community, the School of Public Affairs is also interested in understanding policy change and governmental learning.  Discussions with local governments about their response and policy formation to shale gas development will provide researchers with vast amounts of learning opportunities in both the academic and practitioner worlds.

Recent shale gas deposit exploration and developments in hydraulic fracturing technologies have created new opportunities for natural gas companies. As a result, gas extraction sites are being constructed at high rates across the country.  Communities and individuals have much to gain from the revenue produced and induced by shale gas development, but like many other natural resource extraction processes there are pitfalls to consider. Negative impacts can often be avoided through appropriate planning and cooperation between local, regional, and state governments, industry, and citizens. However, the industry is moving faster than local officials can develop agreeable policies. Long term financial impacts, avoiding boom/bust cycles, environmental impacts, public safety, and community continuity are a few areas where local officials have concern. Many local governments have managed theses issues well, but others are seeking advice and examples of policy and managment techiques to address each issue. 

Through interviews and surveys with local officials and regional planning organizations the Buechner Institute and NARC are beginning to gather information on the barriers and obstacles that municipalities and counties face as well as solutions they have used when shale gas development occurs in and around their borders.  Our focus will be in the following seven areas
  1. General Management
  2. Ability for stakeholders to convene
  3. Communication with and understanding of the public
  4. Long term economic impacts
  5. Environmental impacts
  6. Mitigation of Risk
  7. Nature of regulatory scheme in each the state

The Buechner Institute and NARC are currently discussing the issue with local officials and regional planning organizations in eight states across the country (highlighted below).  Results are forthcoming. Click here for state regulatory structure summaries and links to each states’ agencies who regulate natural gas development: 


For more information:

Project Lead: Samuel Gallaher (

Project Advisor: Dr. Brian Gerber ( | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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