Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version



Published in Environmental Management 38 (2006), pp. 597–617; doi 10.1007/s00267-005-0265-4 Copyright © 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. Used by permission.


Recent interest in expanding offshore oil production within waters of the United States has been met with opposition by groups concerned with recreational, environmental, and aesthetic values associated with the coastal zone. Although the proposition of new oil platforms off the coast has generated conflict over how coastal resources should be utilized, little research has been conducted on where these user conflicts might be most intense and which sites might be most suitable for locating oil production facilities in light of the multiple, and often times, competing interests. In this article, we develop a multiple-criteria spatial decision support tool that identifies the potential degree of conflict associated with oil and gas production activities for existing lease tracts in the coastal margin of Texas. We use geographic information systems to measure and map a range of potentially competing representative values impacted by establishing energy extraction infrastructure and then spatially identify which leased tracts are the least contentious sites for oil and gas production in Texas state waters. Visual and statistical results indicate that oil and gas lease blocks within the study area vary in their potential to generate conflict among multiple stakeholders.