Agenda-Setting at the Energy-Water Nexus: Constructing and Maintaining a Policy Monopoly in U.S. Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Despite calls to increase federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing (HF), the U.S. Congress has maintained a regulatory system in which environmental regulatory authority is devolved to the states. We argue that this system is characterized by a long-standing “policy monopoly”: a form of stability in policy agenda-setting in which a specific manner of framing and regulating a policy issue becomes hegemonic. Integrating theories on agenda-setting and environmental discourse analysis, we develop a nuanced conceptualization of policy monopoly that emphasizes the significance of regulatory history, public perceptions, industry–government relations, and environmental “storylines.” We evaluate how a policy monopoly in U.S. HF regulation has been constructed and maintained through a historical analysis of oil and gas regulation and a discourse analysis of eleven select congressional energy committee hearings. This research extends scholarship on agenda-setting by better illuminating the importance of political economic and geographic factors shaping regulatory agendas and outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Baka, J; Neville, KJ; Weinthal, E; Bakker, K

Published Date

  • May 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 439 - 465

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1541-1338

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1541-132X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/ropr.12287

Citation Source

  • Scopus