Date of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Public Administration


Political Science

Committee Chair

David Johnson


The prevalence of politics in federal environmental policy has been evident for decades, and this thesis will seek to identify the impact of implementing rival policies at the county level. The two federal policies being examined are the Clean Power Plan that was devised by the presidential administration under Barack Obama, and the Affordable Clean Energy Rule created by the presidential administration under Donald Trump. The county selection was chosen in the state of West Virginia because of the state’s high economic dependence on extracting and exporting coal, a current source of domestic and foreign electric power. The study area will include a total of six counties, two with current mining operations, and four contiguous counties without current mining operations. These counties provide a more encompassing picture of any potential spillover impacts. A variety of economic metrics will assist in analyzing how these policies, with opposing objectives, have affected an area that is historically greatly dependent on coal. Based on a review of the literature and initial survey data, the variables of population, coal production in short tons, employment rate, poverty rate, and per capita personal income are the chosen variables to determine the impact of the policy on the rates of change for those parameters within each county. Analyzing how these policies affect counties within other coal producing states will hopefully generate knowledge that may inform federal policy making and implementation by future federal administrations.


coal, West Virginia, Clean Power Plan, pollution, politics, Obama, emissions

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Other American Studies


© Hannah O'Keefe

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