Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Michaele Ferguson

Second Advisor

Patricia Limerick

Third Advisor

Janet Donovan


With the arrival of the 2000s oil and gas boom in Colorado, a robust coalition of grassroots and professional organizations emerged as a challenge. However, this coalition is very diverse, and some fractures have emerged in the movement. This thesis studied the anti-fracking movement in Colorado through interviews with leaders (co-founders or committee members) of organizations that are involved in further regulating or banning oil and gas development in their communities. Specifically, I studied how this diverse group of organizations “frames,” or presents, the issue of fracking to the public, and what the role of geographic factors (political party affiliation, level of oil and gas extraction in their county) played in shaping those “issue frames.” I found that organizers in politically “red” or “purple” counties with higher levels of oil and gas production used different messages than organizers in “blue” or “dark blue” counties with lower levels of production.