NIMBY, YIMBY, or something else? Geographies of public perceptions of shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale

Chad Zanocco*, Hilary Boudet, Christopher E. Clarke, Richard Stedman, Darrick Evensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Much research exists on how social-psychological factors (e.g. political ideology), proximity to development, and contextual factors (e.g. state in which one resides) drive public attitudes toward various types of energy development. Yet, scholars have only recently begun to explore how these factors interact to create unique geographies of perception that defy the simplistic explanations suggested by not-in-my-backyard or yes-in-my-backyard labels. Using precisely geocoded well and survey data, we explore the interplay of political ideology, proximity and place in the context of public attitudes toward unconventional oil and natural gas development (UOGD) in the Marcellus Shale region of southern New York and northern Pennsylvania. For our full sample and similar to findings from recent national surveys on attitudes toward energy development, we found that respondents closer to UOGD were more supportive of it, a relationship that was moderated by political ideology with liberals or moderates located closer to UOGD more supportive than those located further away. However, when we examined these moderation effects within states, a different story emerged. For New York respondents, proximity did not appear to have a differential effect on conservatives vs. liberals/moderates. However, for Pennsylvania respondents, we observed opposing effects: conservatives were more supportive further away from development, while liberals/moderates were more supportive closer to development. Our results thus both reaffirm and challenge existing scholarship, highlighting the potential for middle range theorizing about geographies of perception in energy development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074039
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number7
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • hydraulic fracturing
  • Marcellus Shale
  • political ideology
  • proximity
  • public opinion


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