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Just environmental governance for shale gas? Transitioning towards sustainable local regulation of fracking in Spain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number101307
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Early online date30 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


Fracking affects a range of communities in different ways and requires a holistic approach to its policy formation. There are a multitude of reactions to fracking, and in this perspective article, we argue that all require representation. Whilst Spain, as a state with dominant central authority, has devolved some responsibilities the local level, these communities remain powerless in legislative terms. Nevertheless, various platforms, NGOs, and autonomous communities have expressed strong opposition to fracking and as a result have had a certain amount of success in halting the development of unconventional gas. Despite this progress in their activism, it is evident that public opinion requires more robust and complete representation. Labelling these movements as cases of NIMBYism seeks to detract legitimacy from their concerns. To achieve a representative and legitimate democratic outcome in relation to fracking governance in Spain, distributive and procedural deficiencies must be addressed. As Spain contemplates its fracking future, within its currently precarious political context, it would do well to learn from the regulatory and governmental failures in other jurisdictions and seek to develop a robust framework that solicits and accommodates the range of valid and informed perspectives held on this topic. There is some indication of movement in this direction; offering some optimism that such approaches could be systematised.

    Research areas

  • hydraulic fracturing, NIMBY, local governance, energy ethics

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