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Title: Compliance, Not Enforcement: A Comparative Evaluation of Best Practice Regulation for Hydraulic Fracturing
Authors: Wilson, Steven
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Citation: Wilson, Steven. (2015). Compliance, Not Enforcement: A Comparative Evaluation of Best Practice Regulation for Hydraulic Fracturing ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Abstract: The following study seeks to define and identify regulatory excellence for hydraulic fracturing with a focus on issues of compliance and enforcement. The inspiration for this investigation developed as a result of intense criticism and scrutiny of oil and gas regulators and their enforcement practices, both in Alberta, and throughout North America. These critiques have appeared predominantly in news media, as well as independent studies produced by think tanks and environmental advocacy organizations. The overwhelming consensus is that regulatory compliance, and any subsequent enforcement, is critically low. Regulatory agencies, it is said, are therefore failing in their mandates to adequately protect the environment and the public from hydraulic fracturing’s numerous associated environmental and human health risks. I wanted to find out for myself, through a critical, comprehensive evaluation, to what extent these allegations might be true. My findings reveal that while they certainly contain some merit, and do offer some worthwhile contributions on how compliance and enforcement may be improved, the overall analyses are constrained through an inadequate understanding of the intricacies of modern environmental regulation. I begin my study by outlining the numerous informational gaps and inherent controversies associated with the hydraulic fracturing debate, as well as providing both an environmental and an economic justification for strong regulatory oversight, including enforcement. By incorporating the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s recent Best In Class Regulator Initiative, I establish a comprehensive framework for assessing regulatory excellence. This framework includes key areas such as a regulator’s level of general expertise and its organizational structure, as well as notions of transparency, approaches to risk management, and the degree to which it promotes flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances.
Appears in Collections:Master of Public Policy Capstone Projects

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