Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy
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Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy

Edited by David M. Konisky

A comprehensive analysis of diverse areas of scholarly research on U.S. environmental policy and politics, this Handbook looks at the key ideas, theoretical frameworks, empirical findings and methodological approaches to the topic. Leading environmental policy scholars emphasize areas of emerging research and opportunities for future enquiry.
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Chapter 11: Interest groups in environmental policy: navigating rocky political terrain

Melissa K. Merry


Interest groups play an important role in shaping U.S. environmental policy, although their influence depends on various factors, including groups’ strategic choices with respect to lobbying, relationships with non-state actors, venue selection, and involvement in elections. As groups seek to address pressing issues such as climate change, they must confront deepening partisan polarization and a sophisticated climate change denial movement. At the same time, technological and generational shifts present unique opportunities. In particular, the Internet has facilitated the formation of several new environmental groups, and Millennial (and younger) voters are increasingly concerned about environmental issues and supportive of environmental regulation. Future research should examine the impacts of environmental groups’ involvement in elections and their efforts to shape public opinion through framing. Data gathered through online survey experiments and groups’ communications on social media can shed light on the effectiveness of their communication strategies.

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