Accepted Paper:

Shale gas in the Netherlands: The dynamics of governance strategies and controversies  


Arnoud van Waes (Rathenau Instituut)
Annick De Vries
Rinie Van Est (Rathenau Instituut)

Paper long abstract:

The US energy revolution has sparked interest in potential shale gas development in Europe. Attitudes towards this development vary among countries - from Poland and the UK where test drillings already have been carried out to France which upholds a ban on fracking. In the Netherlands, which has an extensive gas history, these developments have led to a lively societal and political debate about shale gas and fracking. The Rathenau Instituut analysed the societal debate through a media analysis, and studied the way the government has governed the debate through desk research and by conducting stakeholder interviews. Several dominant concerns were identified. The paper aims to provide insight in the used policy strategies in the decision making process on shale gas in the Netherland, and its effects. More specifically, the analysis focuses on the interactions between the different government levels (national, regional and local) in the process of working towards a broadly supported decision on shale gas. These interactions take place in a complex field of actors such as politicians, local citizens, societal groups, advisory groups, industry, knowledge institutions. To this end, the paper addresses consecutive governance (political-administrative) strategies that were used by the national government in the decision making process on shale gas in the Netherlands. The strategies were deployed in response to controversies that arose and include: following legal procedures; conducting participatory general risk research and prolongation by organizing new location-specific research.

Panel L4
Energy controversies and technology conflicts