In light of the failure of the federal government to enact substantial environmental
policies, many states have passed their own legislation addressing these concerns. One
common policy is a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires retail electric
utilities within a state to produce a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable
energy sources. However, not all states have enacted an RPS or other form of
environmental legislation. Three theories have emerged to attempt to explain why this is
the case; these three theories can be referred to as political ideology, regional diffusion and
internal determinants. This paper explores the political factors that led to RPS programs in
Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas in hopes of revealing which of these three theories is
most convincing. The discovery is that political ideology does play a role in environmental
legislative success at the state level, while regional diffusion does not emerge as a
significant factor in these three cases. What appears to be most telling are the unique
internal determinants of each state that interacted during the legislative process of RPS
Why States Enact Environmental Legislation: An Examination of Renewable Portfolio Standards in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.