Summary of the Aspen Institute 2017 Energy & Governance Dialogue Meeting



Continued shale oil and gas development may require coming up with processes and structures to identify and respond to its potential health, environmental, and community impacts. Improving shale governance is challenging, especially in the current governmental context – where people have moved to the extremes and have experienced a stunning loss of faith in U.S. institutions and informational sources. State regulators, who are the key actors in shale governance, have encountered increasing conflicts with local and federal governments and other state governmental entities. Within states, for instance, hyper-partisanship reigns, legislators do not trust executive agencies, local governments do not trust state governments, and everyone is acting with limited information and constrained resources. Regulators need better information and skills to be able to better adapt over time to changes in technology, practice, impacts, and concerns. An academy for regulatory excellence is one idea for promoting that goal; the idea is already being considered and advanced by some oil and gas regulators, but many questions remain about the curriculum, the logistics, the scope of potential attendees, and the funding. 

Roles of Research, Stakeholders, Operators, & Regulators in Enhancing Shale Oil & Gas Governance includes a summary of viewpoints expressed during the 2017 Energy and Governance Forum held in September. Primarily, participants identified the need for a policy framework that prioritizes research in decision-making, as well as broadens the scope for stakeholder engagement in the shale development and policymaking processes.

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