Date of Award

4-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. C. Scott Smith

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

The research investigates whether Michigan residents' perception of risk from an oil and natural gas (ONG) well site that employs the use of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) changes with distance. The research goal is to determine if residents that live farther from a fracking site perceive it to be more dangerous than those who live closer. Secondary research goals include determining if increasing distance from a fracking site cause residents to overestimate their proximity to a fracking site and if gender and education levels have an effect on residents' perception levels. Data were collected from residents in three counties in Michigan using a specially-designed questionnaire. These data were analyzed using Kruskal- Wallis, Spearman's rho, and Chi-squared statistical tests. Additionally, GIS was incorporated to perform distance analysis comparing residents' risk perception levels and the distance oftheir home addresses. Distance analysis suggest that residents possess differing levels of concern regarding a fracking site regardless of distance from the well site while statistical analysis indicates that gender does play a role in determining residents' levels of risk perception.