Public resistance to extracting oil and gas from shale formations is tied to beliefs about local consequences. A well-informed understanding of local consequences matters because policy debates swayed by unrepresentative, anecdotal evidence may lead to the omission of real problems or chasing after costly, phantom issues.
Local governments face challenges and opportunities from unconventional oil and gas development. The activity can create major infrastructure and service impacts, raising issues of local control and capacity to respond. Though the development can generate short term financial gains, it is critical that officials make decisions for the long run.