Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Political Science

Date of Defense

4-22-2014

Graduate Advisor

David Kimball, PhD

Co-Advisor

Robertson, David (Thesis Advisior)

Committee

David Robertson (Chair)

David Kimball

Todd Swanstrom

Abstract

Market-based rulemaking was first proposed by President George HW Bush and played an integral role in addressing the problem of acid rain in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Studies indicated that the market-based regulatory regimen was successful in reducing emissions causing acid rain in a cost effective and efficient manner. The program, at the time of its enactment enjoyed wide spread bipartisan support, including the support of over eighty (80) percent of the Republicans voting on the 1990 Amendments. The same market-based approached was proposed in the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). However, unlike the 1990 Amendments, ACES passed the House of Representatives along partisan lines with only token Republican support. This Thesis examines what caused the erosion of Republican support for the market-based regulatory regimen in ACES, by comparing the votes of members of the House who were in office for both votes to determine what factors, if any, may have caused the change in votes from supporting a market-based approach to regulations, to a vote in opposition. The development of environmental regulation and policy is reviewed before discussing the negotiations leading to the enactment of both the 1990 Amendments and ACES. The Thesis then posits that possible causes for the change in Republican votes include: the Influence of campaign contributions, demographics in the states and the congressional districts which are represented by those changing votes, Presidential voting trends, differences in the types of emissions regulated and the polarization which exists in Congress today. We conclude that the most plausible cause of the change in votes is polarization.

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