Studies in Policy Choices and Interactions
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Mikael S. Andersen, Birgitte E. Olsen, Stefan Speck, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 15: Resilience based policy for groundwater protection
Water management in the twenty-first century requires a new and innovative framework in order to address the growing needs and diverse usage of this essential resource. This chapter is part of a larger doctoral study examining the protection of groundwater during unconventional natural gas (UNG) extraction. While economic benefits are recognized from the practice of UNG production, environmental concerns have also been raised, and as stated by Sprohge et al. (2012: 97), ‘[i]f these environmental concerns are handled properly, hydraulic fracturing drilling may be one of the biggest technological innovations of all time. If these concerns are not handled properly, serious environmental degradation may take place in our lifetime’. This study thus explores the notion of how to properly handle the environmental concerns that pertain to groundwater, examining the role of environmental tax incentives in the complex socio-ecological framework surrounding this particular energy–water nexus. The intention of this chapter is not to reiterate the processes of UNG extraction, the economic benefits from production, nor the specific concerns, but rather to present the proposition that there is a need for policy designed within a systems framework based on the construct of resilience in complex socio-ecological systems. The need to move away from traditional, static environmental regulatory schemes is discussed at length in the literature as the knowledge of complexities within socio-ecological systems continues to grow.
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