Efforts to explain the failure of the U.S. federal government to pass energy legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions often turn to the theory of resource dependency. This theory is challenged by Pennsylvania's adoption of a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) policy, since Pennsylvania produces more coal than any of the other 27 with an RPS policy. However, we resist rejecting a theory that emphasizes resource dependence in this case, because Pennsylvania's RPS policy includes a fossil fuel: waste coal. Instead, we argue that a theory of the state that emphasizes policymakers' role in managing public legitimacy is needed to explain how resource dependence becomes a point of contestation in policy hearings. We demonstrate how Pennsylvania policymakers used rhetorical maneuvers and changed the title of the policy to justify the inclusion of waste coal in a renewable energy policy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science