Fracking Expertise: How Interest Groups Used Expert Claims in Pennsylvania’s Fracking Controversy around Act 13


  • Aline Dausendschön



Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction, also called fracking, is steadily growing as an energy source for the United States. Despite the technology’s promising economic opportunities, its application remains highly debated due to reported pollution incidents and uncertainties regarding long-term environmental and public health impacts. The regulation of fracking in the US is subject to federal state legislation. When the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania changed its fracking regulation in 2012, this sparked off a new round of debate. House bill 1950, often referred to as Act 13, expanded the possibilities for fracking in all areas of the state, even in housing districts and sensitive areas of high environmental value. Outraged, the affected municipalities decided to question the legality of the bill before court in March 2012. The case was closed in February 2014, when the Supreme Court judged the zoning prohibitions unconstitutional in a final say. 


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