Carlo E. Sica

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Huber, Matthew T.


fracking, governance, Marcellus, neoliberalism, scale, shale gas

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Geology


Shale gas has become one of Pennsylvania's major resources in recent years and the gas boom has proceeded in spite of uncertainty over the environmental risks of its production process. This thesis argues that location alone cannot explain why shale gas boomed in Pennsylvania. Using interviews with corporate and state executives, I argue that the scalar dimensions of the neoliberal environmental governance of shale gas were critical to understanding why shale gas boomed in Pennsylvania. These actors supported the preemption of local scales of governance by the state as a scalar fix for capital accumulation from shale gas development. They also legitimated the scalar fix by assembling a neat stack of scale frames that made shale gas seem to benefit everyone. These scale frames made shale gas appear as if it would provide local employment, regional supplies of cheap gas, national energy security, abundant gas for tight global markets, and a mitigating strategy for global climate change. In arguing this point, I present a history of how shale gas became a resource that outlines the critical role of the state in that process