Abstract: Public perceptions of fracking and natural gas have received significant scholarly attention recently. However, opinion research is scant with respect to natural gas export (the transport and sale of natural gas from one country to another via pipeline or ship) and its associated economic benefits and environmental risks. Understanding public views on export, particularly in places where export facilities are proposed, is important because the U.S. has rapidly increased its natural gas exports overseas in the wake of the shale revolution. Moreover, such facilities have been targeted by anti-fossil fuel and climate activists as a weak link in the chain of the fossil fuel economy, particularly on the U.S. West Coast where proposals for export terminals have proven unsuccessful. Using a web-based opinion survey in the state of Oregon (n = 500), we evaluate risk and benefit perceptions of natural gas export and the role of socio-demographic, political ideology, and place-based factors in shaping these perceptions. We find that men, conservatives, urban residents, and those who perceive that their community’s economic identity is tied to extractive industries are less likely to perceive risks and more likely to perceive benefits from natural gas export. Respondents with a bachelor’s degree and those who perceive that their community’s economic identity is tied to renewable energy are more likely to perceive risks and less likely to perceive benefits. Whereas much of energy social science is focused on sites of extraction, our results contribute to the growing understanding of the social dimensions of energy export.

Mooney, R.; Boudet, H.S.; Hazboun, S.O.
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Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 2022
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