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Investigating the Role of Identities and Opinion Leadership on Risk Information Seeking and Sharing about Proposed Natural Gas Drilling in New York’s Marcellus Shale
Unformatted Document Text:  15 techniques to ensure data reliability and validity, including peer auditing of theoretical approach, methods, and research questions, and member checks (Long & Johnson, 2000; Weiss, 1994). Results and Discussion Interview findings are presented along with correlative discussion 1 . Thirty-six interviews were conducted, and interviewees represented a diverse array of affiliations, including local elected officials (n=18); landowner coalition members (n=11); and town and county-level gas drilling task force members (n=5). Interviewees discussed several potential impacts associated with gas development in the area. Economic impacts were particularly salient, including benefits (i.e., new jobs in the local economy; increased tax revenues for local communities) as well as drawbacks associated with expanding public services. These issues have also emerged in studies of economic impacts of shale gas drilling in other states (Theodori, 2009). In addition, water- related impacts were discussed. Water use was tied to road use, and many interviewees believed that local roads cannot handle the number and weight of trucks needed for transporting water to and from the drill site. Road deterioration has been an impact associated with shale gas development in other locations (Anderson & Theodori, 2009). In addition, water contamination associated with drilling and disposal of wastewater were also mentioned. Both have emerged as concerns in other areas (Kargbo et al., 2010). Most interviewees received inquiries about Marcellus Shale; received information from these contacts; and had their views and opinions solicited. This finding is not surprising; opinion leaders are not just sources of information but are also influenced by others by virtue of these interactions (Weimann et al., 2007). Moreover, most interviewees saw themselves as resources. Many considered themselves able to answer basic drilling-related questions (i.e., “Marcellus Shale 101”) and direct inquirers to appropriate source (especially for technical questions).

Authors: Clarke, Chris.
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techniques to ensure data reliability and validity, including peer auditing of theoretical approach, 
methods, and research questions, and member checks (Long & Johnson, 2000; Weiss, 1994).
Results and Discussion
Interview findings are presented along with correlative discussion
1
. Thirty-six interviews 
were conducted, and interviewees represented a diverse array of affiliations, including local 
elected officials (n=18); landowner coalition members (n=11); and town and county-level gas 
drilling task force members (n=5). Interviewees discussed several potential impacts associated 
with gas development in the area. Economic impacts were particularly salient, including benefits 
(i.e., new jobs in the local economy; increased tax revenues for local communities) as well as 
drawbacks associated with expanding public services. These issues have also emerged in studies 
of economic impacts of shale gas drilling in other states (Theodori, 2009). In addition, water-
related impacts were discussed. Water use was tied to road use, and many interviewees believed 
that local roads cannot handle the number and weight of trucks needed for transporting water to 
and from the drill site. Road deterioration has been an impact associated with shale gas 
development in other locations (Anderson & Theodori, 2009). In addition, water contamination 
associated with drilling and disposal of wastewater were also mentioned. Both have emerged as 
concerns in other areas (Kargbo et al., 2010).
Most interviewees received inquiries about Marcellus Shale; received information from these 
contacts; and had their views and opinions solicited. This finding is not surprising; opinion 
leaders are not just sources of information but are also influenced by others by virtue of these 
interactions (Weimann et al., 2007). Moreover, most interviewees saw themselves as resources. 
Many considered themselves able to answer basic drilling-related questions (i.e., “Marcellus 
Shale 101”) and direct inquirers to appropriate source (especially for technical questions).


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