Risks and Risk Governance in
SUMMARY OF TWO WORKSHOPS
Paul C. Stern, Rapporteur
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported primarily by the National Science Foundation through Grant No. SES-1156274. Support for participant travel came from Shell Upstream America, and the Park Foundation made possible the live Webcasting of the workshops. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Cover: Ivy Mowers (in the blue top) and Zoe Mowers (in the green top) play outside their home with views of a drilling rig and huge walls surrounding the well site in a portion of the town of Mead, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, June 6, 2014. Matthew Staver /Landov
Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2014). Risks and Risk Governance in Shale Gas Development: Summary of Two Workshops. P.C. Stern, Rapporteur. Board on Environmental Change and Society, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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STEERING COMMITTEE ON RISK MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE ISSUES IN SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT: TWO WORKSHOPS
MITCHELL J. SMALL (Chair), Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
SUSAN CHRISTOPHERSON, Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, Cornell University
ABBAS FIROOZABADI, Reservoir Engineering Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA
BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh
ROBERT B. JACKSON, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
D. WARNER NORTH, Office of the President, Northworks, Inc., Belmont, CA
ASEEM PRAKASH, Department of Political Science, University of Washington
BARRY RABE, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
SUSAN F. TIERNEY, Managing Principal, Analysis Group, Boston, MA
BARBARA ZIELINSKA, Organic Analytical Laboratory, Desert Research Institute, Reno NV
PAUL C. STERN, Project Director and Rapporteur
MEREDITH A. LANE, Board Director
THOMAS WEBLER, Consultant
MARY ANN KASPER, Senior Program Assistant
BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND SOCIETY
RICHARD H. MOSS, (Chair), Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland, College Park
ARUN AGRAWAL, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JOSEPH ARVAI, Department of Geography, University of Calgary
ANTHONY BEBBINGTON, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University
WILLIAM CHANDLER, Transition Energy, Annapolis, MD
F. STUART (TERRY) CHAPIN, III, Institute of Arctic Biology and Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska
RUTH DEFRIES, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
KRISTIE L. EBI, Department of Medicine, Stanford University
MARIA CARMEN LEMOS, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
DENNIS OJIMA, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University
JONATHAN OVERPECK, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona
STEPHEN POLASKY, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
J. TIMMONS ROBERTS, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
JAMES L. SWEENEY, Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University
GARY YOHE, Economics Department, Wesleyan University (until July 2013)
MEREDITH A. LANE, Director
PAUL C. STERN, Senior Scholar
MARY ANN KASPER, Senior Program Assistant
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for clarity, objectivity and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this workshop summary: David H. Auston, Institute for Energy Efficiency, University of California, Santa Barbara; Alan J. Krupnick, Center for Energy Economics and Policy, Resources for the Future; Andrew G. Place, Energy and Environmental Policy, EQT Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Edwin P. Przybylowicz, senior vice president and director of research, retired, Eastman Kodak Company; Hermann I. Schlesinger, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago; Susan F. Tierney, Analysis Group, Boston, Massachusetts; and Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corporation.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this summary was overseen by Robert W. Corell, senior fellow, Florida International University, and principal, Global, Environment and Technology Foundation, Grasonville, Maryland, and M. Granger Morgan, Department of Engi-
neering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University. Appointed by the National Research Council they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the author and the institution.
This publication is a summary of two workshops, organized by a committee of the National Research Council (NRC), in which participants considered and assessed claims to advance knowledge about the levels and types of risk posed by the development of shale gas resources and about the adequacy of existing governance procedures and institutions for addressing the risks. With primary support from the National Science Foundation and additional support for participant travel and for dissemination of results from the Park Foundation and Shell Upstream America, the NRC’s Board on Environmental Change and Society established a Steering Committee on Risk Management and Governance Issues in Shale Gas Development to organize the workshops, which were held on May 30-31, 2013 and August 15-16, 2013. The tasks for this activity were defined as follows:
A steering committee established by the NRC would organize two workshops to examine the range of social and decision-making issues in risk characterization and governance related to gas shale development. Central themes would include risk governance in the context of (a) risks that emerge as shale gas development expands, and (b) incomplete or declining regulatory capacity in an era of budgetary stringency. The first workshop will follow the systematic approach to risk characterization recommended in the 1996 NRC report, Understanding Risk, which has not yet been applied in this context. It will engage experts and practitioners in addressing the concerns of a range of interested and affected parties to identify key issues and discussing the state and limits of scientific knowl-
edge on those issues. The second workshop would engage social scientists from several research traditions to apply a variety of insights about risk management institutions to the shale gas case, while interacting with each other and with practitioners.
A designated rapporteur will write a summary of the presentations on risk issues raised in the first workshop, the risk management and governance concepts presented at the second workshop, and the discussions at both workshops. The summary might include a selection of signed papers by workshop presenters, after appropriate review. It would note the risk questions posed at the workshops for future analysis and the risk management challenges and opportunities identified, which could be considered in future national discussions about the development and implementation of the technology. It would not offer any consensus judgments or recommendations.
This report has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The steering committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the steering committee, or the NRC.