||The boom in U.S. natural gas production has sparked a national debate about the known
and unknown environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing. This paper analyzes real
and perceived risks as a means to illustrate and explain the rise of hydraulic fracturing
on the public agenda.
Through literature reviews, data analysis, and expert interviews, we explain the processes
that build public agendas by first (1) analyzing media coverage and public interest
in hydraulic fracturing, then (2) evaluating stakeholder groups and their mental models
for perceiving and valuing risk, and conclude with (3) synthesizing how Pennsylvania
has managed risk related to hydraulic fracturing.
Our research findings will be useful to those aiming to influence and understand how
mass media, general public, and a range of stakeholder groups perceive and manage
the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing.