Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Energy Policy (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Adam Wellstead

Committee Member 1

Chelsea Schelly

Committee Member 2

Mark Rouleau

Committee Member 3

Kalim Shah


Over two and a half million miles of pipeline cross the United States today, half of which is over fifty years old and thus was designed, located, and debated without today’s modern environmental policies in place. Aging pipeline infrastructure, such as the (infamous in Michigan) Enbridge Line 5 pipeline underwater crossing at Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, has undergone increased public scrutiny and risk analysis this past decade. This has led to the potential for policy changes in the historically stable energy services institution associated with pipeline infrastructure regulation. While policy process literature generally describes how policy changes over time, it is missing research on how new goals and new technology, such as energy justice and social media, impact agenda setting and decisions when added to the policy mix. This dissertation first investigates the evolving federal pipeline regime policy goals through an advanced policy mix analysis. Next, it argues that energy justice research can be advanced through deterministic approaches and analyses. Last, this dissertation uses a social network analysis to explain why aging pipelines are on today’s policy agenda through social network analysis. By understanding how the pipeline policy mix has changed over time, including through the addition of modern topics such as energy justice and modern technologies such as social media, policy and decision makers can improve prioritization of risk analysis for aging pipeline infrastructure.

Included in

Energy Policy Commons