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2020 Projects

State of The Rockies: A preliminary analysis of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on lives and livelihoods in the Rocky Mountain West

Saigopal Rangaraj ’22
Major: Economics

Saigopal Rangaraj ’22

Major: Economics

Faculty Collaborator: Kat-Miller Stevens, Business & Economics

Hydraulic fracturing is amongst the most controversial issues in today’s political discourse due to its far reaching implications for the region and country’s economy, food systems, and national security. Given this context, it is apt that the State of The Rockies Project aims to understand many of the nuances surrounding this hot button issue. The goal of this project was to lay the groundwork for further study into the connection between hydraulic fracturing and several interconnected research areas, including: the impact of hydraulic fracturing on local food systems and overall food production; the impact that hydraulic fracturing and its ancillary practices of well discovery have on Native American communities, people of color and other minorities; the negative effects of hydraulic fracturing on human health; an analysis of how social movements mobilize against hydraulic fracturing. After conducting this overarching research, it was determined that the literature of social movements was a key focus area. The remainder of the project was spent studying the state of “anti-fracking” social movements and in determining what factors impacted mobilization of pro and anti fracking coalitions. Overall, the nature of this entire project, and in turn, The State of The Rockies Project, is inherently interdisciplinary. This project is built upon research from various fields such as: economics, sociology, anthropology, and environmental science. The final goal of this research is to assist the next cohort of State of The Rockies fellows in finding answers to many of the unanswered questions left by these preliminary findings.

Title: State of The Rockies: A preliminary analysis of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on lives and livelihoods in the Rocky Mountain West.Student Researchers: Saigopal RangarajMajor: EconomicsFaculty Collaborator: Kat-Miller StevensAbstract:Hydraulic fracturing is amongst the most controversial issues in today’s political discourse due to its far reaching implications for the region and country’s economy, food systems, and national security. Given this context, it is apt that the State of The Rockies Project aims to understand many of the nuances surrounding this hot button issue. The goal of this project was to lay the groundwork for further study into the connection between hydraulic fracturing and several interconnected research areas, including: the impact of hydraulic fracturing on local food systems and overall food production; the impact that hydraulic fracturing and its ancillary practices of well discovery have on Native American communities, people of color and other minorities; the negative effects of hydraulic fracturing on human health; an analysis of how social movements mobilize against hydraulic fracturing. After conducting this overarching research, it was determined that the literature of social movements was a key focus area. The remainder of the project was spent studying the state of “anti-fracking” social movements and in determining what factors impacted mobilization of pro and anti fracking coalitions. Overall, the nature of this entire project, and in turn, The State of The Rockies Project, is inherently interdisciplinary. This project is built upon research from various fields such as: economics, sociology, anthropology, and environmental science. The final goal of this research is to assist the next cohort of State of The Rockies fellows in finding answers to many of the unanswered questions left by these preliminary findings.

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