Dr. Portney and his co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Berry, have analyzed the influence of local Tea Parties efforts to block sustainability initiatives by cities. To ascertain the impact of such Tea Party actions, the researchers relied on several sources of data. One data set came from previous research by Portney in which he compiled comprehensive information on the level and range of sustainability programs for 50 U.S. cities, resulting in a Sustainability Score. And, in these same cities, the heads of local Tea Parties were interviewed whenever possible. Questions asked included their interactions with different categories of policy makers and their preferred methods of advocacy. Based on their responses, local Tea Parties were engaging in modest efforts to influence local policy. The researchers then examined the correlation of local Team Party activities with the city’s Sustainability Score. Their findings indicate that the Tea Party has not had a significant dampening effect on city policymaking in support of sustainability.
Berry, Jeffrey M. and Kent E. Portney. 2017. “The Tea Party versus Agenda 21: Local Groups and Sustainability Policies in U.S. Cities.” Environmental Politics 26(1): 118–137.