Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 6:2–3 (2014), pp. 173–193; doi: 10.1080/19390459.2014.910912.


Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


A federal government system creates opportunities for proponents and opponents of environmental policy change to shift the institutional home where a policy decision is made and then invoke reasoning tailored for the new venue and to retry or reframe arguments. Content analysis of North Dakota state legislative and US Congressional committee hearings preceding authorization of an outlet connecting Devils Lake, North Dakota to the binational Hudson Bay drainage basin revealed: (1) State and federal legislators were equally likely to invoke constituents’ localized concerns in framing arguments, and (2) Scientific evidence did not hold sway in either state or federal hearings.