Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Michael Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Stamps, Ph.D.


Environmental concern, Democracy, Environmental law, Congressional representation, Congressional action


This study examines the relationship between public opinion about the environment and the introduction of congressional legislation on environmental issues. Using public opinion data gathered by the General Social Survey from 1977 to 2002, this work examines correlations between how the public views the environment in each and the number of bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate addressing environmental issues. The findings indicate that there is a correlation between overall concern felt in the public and congressional action on certain aspects of environmental protection. The results also highlight the potentially disturbing finding that the race and economic class of a respondent play a role in the level of correlation between respondents' concern for the environment and congressional action on environmental issues.