Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department

Political Studies

Reader 1

Brinda Sarathy

Reader 2

Rachel Van Sickle-Ward

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Rights Information

© 2013 Alyssa M. Solis


This thesis looks at the current fracking debate on a national scale, before focusing specifically on how this debate is playing out in the landscape of Central Arkansas. Focusing on the lack of national regulation, the unique array of state regulations that have popped up are assessed in their effectiveness on the ground through speaking with residents of the area. The demographics of these residents are analyzed within an assessment of environmental injustice vulnerability. This ethnographic approach also compares the de jure v. de facto outcomes of these regulations through the narratives of residents working with organizations across the political spectrum, and specifically seeks to gauge their own personal stories and experiences with regulators and the fracking industry. Other key actors are identified. This thesis concludes that agency capture is a reality for these residents, and their perceived powerlessness drastically increases the power of the gas companies that monopolize the political agenda in the region.

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