By: Lucas Ackernecht, Alexandra Hensens, and William Nielsen

Abstract
The process of hydraulic fracturing has significant potential economic benefits; however, it is only now becoming clearer that serious environmental, social concerns must be addressed before the extraction of shale gas can be considered a viable energy source for the US. Insofar as public and private sector actors are working with key stakeholders to close knowledge gaps and mitigate and manage the risks, the imperative is that these gas schemes do not undermine public health, local and regional environmental integrity, and citizens’ rights. While the United States continues to foster financial growth from associated economic activities, the drilling continues with little regulation and law enforcement. Policymakers must investigate and understand the associated social and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing in counterbalance to the appealing economic benefits of the growing natural gas industry.

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About the Authors
Lucas Ackerknecht is a second-year Master of Public Administration and Environmental Finance and Impact Investing fellow with a concentration in economics and financial policy at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. Prior to graduate school, he received a B.S. in natural resources at Cornell University. Lucas has worked with several environmental non-profit and scientific research organizations.

Alexandra Hensens
received her Master of Public Administration at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, concentrating in environmental and financial policy. She was also an Environmental Finance and Impact Investing fellow at Cornell University. Prior to Cornell, she completed her Bachelor of Business Administration in the Netherlands. Alexandra has worked on various sustainable projects for the public and private sectors in Canada, Curacao, India, South Africa, Spain, theNetherlands, and the United States. Her experience mainly pertains to the positive role the corporate sector can play in social and environmental responsibility and how sustainability issues can be approached as business opportunities.

William Nielsen is second-year Master of Public Administration and Environmental Finance and Impact Investing fellow at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. William received his B.S. in applied economics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, with a concentration in natural resource economics. His work experiences span the public, private, and non-profit sectors, working as a consultant for Mesoamerica Investments, conducting research for the Minnesota Department of Revenue, improving the sustainability of Team Ortho Foundation, and assisting with various triple bottom line projects for the consulting firm Social Enterprise Associates.

Written by Cornell Institute of Public Affairs

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