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Braelyn Parkman

Braelyn Parkman

Braelyn is a senior double majoring in public policy studies and history. She has completed two policy internships, with the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia and (remotely) with the Environmental Working Group. On campus, she is involved with Duke Moot Court and serves as a CEO in the Penny Pilgram George Women’s Leadership Initiative. After Duke she hopes to pursue a career in the public interest or nonprofit sector.

Honors Thesis:

A History of Coal Ash Policy in North Carolina

Faculty Advisor: Professor Kenneth S. Rogerson

Abstract: Coal combustion wastes pose both an environmental and public health threat, yet went unregulated in the United States on both the state and local level until 2014. Structuring the analysis around John Kingdon’s theory of agenda setting, this thesis examines the factors that kept regulators from addressing the issue for so long. Widely publicized coal ash spills helped the public and policy makers recognize the issue as a problem in need of addressing, and activism on the part of community members and nonprofits identified appropriate solutions. Finally, the political environment aligned for policy action in 2014, although the picture is complicated by ongoing negotiation of regulatory rules and legal settlements.