Policy and Public Discourse on the Social/Environmental Impacts of Liquefied Natural Gas Production

EPA Grant Number: F07C30561
Title: Policy and Public Discourse on the Social/Environmental Impacts of Liquefied Natural Gas Production
Investigators: Campbell, Jacob
Institution: University of Arizona
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: January 1, 2007 through January 1, 2009
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Fellowship - Anthropology , Academic Fellowships


Liquefied Natural Gas production is impacting an increasing number of coastal communities in both developed and developing nations around the world. Most social science research has focused either on local experiences of oil extraction or on state-level analyses of petroleum politics and economies. This project will investigate how local interpretations of LNG facilities are influenced by individual experiences with the industry, and how these positions on LNG are informed by national or global disputes. It will also examine how government and corporate policies affect industry operations at the local level, and how local representatives are involved with LNG policy development.


This research will utilize policy analysis, ethnographic methods and quantitative sampling. Corporate and government policies on LNG in Trinidad will be analyzed, focusing on health and safety, environmental regulations and economic development. Key informants are to be identified and interviewed, including local and national government officials, public health administrators, Atlantic LNG management personnel, union leaders and environmental agency spokespeople, among others as appropriate. Ethnographic techniques will be utilized in public hearings, political gatherings, community events and other public arenas where issues involving LNG are discussed or debated. In addition, case studies of six households will be designed and conducted to focus on recent household health, economic livelihood and perception of risk and benefit associated with the Atlantic LNG operation. Households of Atlantic employees and non-employees are to be surveyed, utilizing a random sampling method specific to each group. The survey will be designed to assess how perceptions of LNG production are distributed spatially, and influenced by age, education level, ethnicity, livelihood, political affiliation and media use.

Expected Results:

The research project outlined here will begin to fill gaps in knowledge of how discourses on LNG are formed and contested across social strata, as well as how these interactions impact the perception and experience of the industry by citizens in LNG production regions. This approach can start to identify the negotiations and exchange between industry administration, government officials and community members, while also yielding some understanding of how the resulting policy is experienced on the ground in terms of environmental regulations, mitigation of health hazards and economic development. The study will contribute to literature being used to elucidate human challenges associated with Liquefied Natural Gas production not only in Trinidad, but globally.

Supplemental Keywords:

Political Ecology, Oil and Gas Development, Globalization, Environmental Anthropology, Coastal and Marine Ecology, Environmental Decision Making,, Scientific Discipline

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • Final