An Exploration into Extraction: a Comparative Institutional Analysis of Anthracite Coal Mining and Natural Gas Drilling in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Open Access
Grogan, Kelcey A
Area of Honors:
Community, Environment, and Development
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Theodore Roberts Alter, Thesis Supervisor
  • Theodore Roberts Alter, Honors Advisor
  • Jeffrey Cash Bridger, Faculty Reader
  • natural resource extraction
  • Marcellus Shale
  • anthracite coal
  • natural gas
  • Pennsylvania
  • institutions
  • community
  • environment
Natural resource extraction has dominated the development of Pennsylvania since the founding of the Commonwealth. Yet little research exists to examine the impacts of social, political, legal, and economic institutions on extractive industries, and the effects on people, communities, and the environment. This inquiry examines how the nexus of political, social, and economic institutions have both influenced and been influenced by the prevalence of natural resource extraction throughout the history of Pennsylvania, specifically focusing on northeastern Pennsylvania. This paper will seek to gain insights into Pennsylvania's past and future through a comparative analysis of anthracite coal mining and natural gas drilling in the hopes of minimizing poor future decisions concerning Marcellus Shale. This paper examines and analyzes the impacts of institutions on natural resource extraction, people, communities, and the economy by exploring the theory and methods of Schmid, Tan, Hurst, Boulding, and Gaventa; analyzing what we have learned about the relationship between institutions, natural resource extraction, and development from coal mining in Northeastern Pennsylvania; analyzing the current institutional relationships that are exhibited by the natural gas industry; and drawing implications of these findings for the extraction of natural gas, mainly in Pennsylvania, but also for the United States.