Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Priscilla Lambert

Second Advisor

Dr. Denise Keele

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynne Heasley

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Matthew Mingus


Federalism, interest groups, environmental policy, oil policy, interviews, advocacy groups


Federalism often creates additional decisions for interest groups in determining how best to advocate for their policy recommendations in the legislative process. Should they focus their advocacy at the local, state, or national level of government? What activities should they use at each level of government? This dissertation examines interest group behaviors in water quality policy in the Great Lakes region from 1940 to 2000, in oil policy in the Beaufort Sea region from 1970 to 2000, and in both policy areas in 2010-2013. I evaluate the reasons for interest group decisions in choice of tactics and targeted level of government. I use two major research strategies: (1) historical analysis of two case studies and (2) interviews with interest group representatives. The results of these analyses show that in many cases groups are influenced in their decision-making by which level of government has greatest jurisdiction over the policy, the internal resources and organizational capacities of each group, and their relationships with policymakers.


5th Advisor: Dr. Sybil Rhodes

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access