Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 3:50 PM
DOES SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS INFLUENCE THE SPATIAL PATTERNS OF NATURAL GAS DRILLING? A CASE STUDY OF TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS USA
Natural gas drilling in the Barnett Shale region in North Texas has witnessed rapid growth in the recent past extending from predominantly rural contexts in the 1980's and 1990's to predominantly urban contexts since the mid 2000's. The spatial patterns of this growth are driven by geological considerations as well as varying local government ordinances that dictate minimum separation distances from designated structures including residences, schools, religious institutions, among others. Decisions on rules regarding placement of gas wells are made at the city-level and are often driven by economic as well as environmental concerns. Due to inconsistent local decision-making processes as well as complex permitting and legal guidelines, the spatial patterns of gas well operations are unevenly distributed across geographic space. Differences in placement result in different levels of exposure to this industrial activity. We hypothesize that vulnerable populations are more likely to have greater exposure. In this paper, we use a bivariate K function to test if the spatial patterns of gas well around elementary public schools differ by the socio-economic status of the schools catchment area. Our preliminary results show that there are significant differences in the spatial distribution of gas wells around public schools in Tarrant County, Texas.
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