This research examines the importance of tone and issue framing by the United States Congress, using the case of the Laurentian Great Lakes (Great Lakes) from 2000 to 2019. Researching the tone of United States congressional committees, subcommittees and their witnesses, it is determined that congressional committees conduct hearings reflecting their public policy tone instead of more open discussions of the policy issues confronting the Great Lakes today. There is a statistically significant weak to moderate relationship of the tone of the committee, reflecting the same tone as the hearing. Similar to the tone of the committees mimicking the tone of the hearings, it appears that the tone of the witness reflects the tone of the hearing being conducted by the congressional committee. There is a statistically moderate to strong relationship between the tone of the witness and the tone of the hearing they attend. This is especially true for hearings conducted with an environmental protection tone and, to a lesser extent, with the tone of hearings and witnesses focused on commerce, industry and transportation. The research results lead to concerns regarding the fragmentation of Great Lakes public policymaking and the inability to address concerns for the Great Lakes, such as climate change, pollution and invasive species.
WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment
Tzoumis, Kelly and Wruk, Kathleen. (2019) Evaluation of the Management of the Laurentian Great Lakes - The Role of US Congressional Policymaking. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment. 239: 23-34.