Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Paul Shankman


Over the last several years, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has become a polarizing issue across Boulder County, Colorado. My research examines activism in response to fracking and subsequent changes in local regulations. Drilling moratoriums were enacted in Longmont, Erie, Lafayette, and unincorporated Boulder County, but the ensuing regulations on fracking differed. The focus of my research is the town of Longmont, where a community-based organization initiated and voters approved a ban on fracking by a large margin. Through interviews with activists and community members, this research examines this activism and why some community-based organizations against fracking achieved stronger regulations than others. This paper argues that groups that effectively accumulated and utilized social capital were able to achieve more success in combating the spread of fracking. Challenges that impeded the success of some groups are also discussed.