ALEC Says It Plans To Craft Legislation To Take Down State Renewable Energy Targets

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"ALEC Says It Plans To Craft Legislation To Take Down State Renewable Energy Targets"

Two leading conservative political organizations say they are stepping up coordinated efforts to repeal state-level renewable energy targets.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — a “stealth business lobbyist” that works with corporate interests to help them write and implement “model” legislation — says it may soon start crafting laws designed to kill or weaken state targets for renewable electricity, heating and fuels.

ALEC has come under fire in recent weeks for its support of voter ID laws and the controversial Stand-Your-Ground law that opponents blame for the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. After progressive groups began an aggressive campaign to educate the public about ALEC, 13 companies have since pulled their membership from the organization.

Last July, Bloomberg News acquired tax documents showing that Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and other energy companies paid membership fees to ALEC in order to help write legislation repealing carbon pollution reduction programs in states around country.

Bloomberg now reports that ALEC is looking to take aim at renewable energy programs in states:

ALEC, a group of state lawmakers and corporations recently criticized for its support of Stand-Your-Ground laws highlighted in the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin, may write model legislation for state lawmakers to repeal or weaken the mandates later this year, said Todd Wynn, energy, environment and agriculture task force director for the group, in an interview. Stand-Your-Ground laws allows citizens to use force when threatened, even when they can retreat.

The group may also develop an “energy freedom” index that ranks states based on regulation, market intervention and taxes.

ALEC has already attempted to write legislation preventing targets for renewable energy on the federal level. As nothing substantive has happened nationally, it seems ALEC is now preparing to take its corporate-influenced legislation to the 29 states that actually have targets in place.

Along with promoting legislation to kill climate policies and renewable energy targets, ALEC also provided the framework for legislation currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating toxic coal ash.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, Peabody Energy — the largest private coal company in the world — is a major underwriter for ALEC and sits on the organization’s Private Enterprise Board.

Americans for Tax Reform, the infamous anti-tax organization run by Grover Norquist, also says it is taking a more aggressive approach to opposing renewable energy targets. According to Bloomberg News, the group is urging its members to “speak out” against renewable energy promotion policies.

The organization has falsely claimed that such targets are costly to ratepayers.

In fact, no official analysis has found that state-level renewable energy targets specifically increase energy prices. While some states have seen increases in rates over the years, a recent analysis from the Center for American Progress found that clean energy targets had no statistically significant impact on those price changes.

Despite the real-world evidence that clean energy is increasingly cost-competitive and economically beneficial to states, the sector is under attack. The industry should be prepared for a more aggressive campaign from organizations like ALEC and Americans for Tax Reform on the state level.

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28 Responses to ALEC Says It Plans To Craft Legislation To Take Down State Renewable Energy Targets

  1. Sasparilla says:

    Excellent article Stephen. Makes perfect sense as well. After total victory at the Federal level and with Federal support of Green Energy dying off, the forces of Koch and Co. are moving their sights to the next level down, where there are green energy targets, which is the states.

    While I wouldn’t expect total victory at the state level, I would expect ALEC and Co. to roll over alot of things where the GOP control the State government.

    I think I remember in 2010 more money flowed into to green energy power generation than fossil fuel power generation for the first time (maybe it was just coal?). Combine this with the declining costs of Wind and Solar and now Green Energy is a big threat to the fossil fuel power generation – this is why fossil fuel industry is at war with green energy now (and wasn’t a few years ago) and that won’t end.

    ALEC and Co. only have 8 years or so to quash clean energy in the U.S. before green energy beats them on pure costs alone and its game over for growth in fossil fuel energy generation growth.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I reckon the pluto-kakistocracy will trigger a new phase in economic contraction, blame it on renewable energy (it doesn’t need to make sense)then attack. It will also give them an excuse to drive wages down, destroy social welfare and attack somebody-probably Iran, for starters.

  2. Raul M. says:

    Haven’t they already been there with the deal about paying for the nuke plant before it’s built?

  3. T.J. says:

    What in the hell is wrong with these reactionary pricks? Only pure amoral psychotics would actually oppose renewable non-pollutive energy generation.

  4. Zimzone says:

    Wind & Solar tax credits have already lapsed, so ALEC’s footprint is visible on the Federal level.

    The collusion we’ve seen among (R) State legislatures is another example of their dirty work. Playing public workers as ‘Union thugs’, breaching collective bargaining units, voter ID, same sex marriage, ad nauseum.

    We elect public officials to craft good legislation. A narrow interest group like ALEC has no place in an open Democracy.

    • T.J. says:

      Ah but this isn’t an open democracy, it is a democratic republic, which is incredibly vulnerable to corruption from private interests.

      • Zimzone says:

        I stand corrected.

        A narrow interest group like ALEC has no place in a democratic republic.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Zimzone, this is how the Right are hard-wired-to hate everything ‘other’ to themselves, and derive their greatest pleasure in existence from making other people’s lives hell.

  5. JFM says:

    “What in the hell is wrong with these reactionary pricks? Only pure amoral psychotics would actually oppose renewable non-pollutive energy generation.”

    Anyone for a Koch?

    • Tom King says:

      They are simply trying to delay the inevitable. All their energy holdings are about to go down the drain. If clean energy prices keep dropping how long can they realistically stay in the game?

  6. facts lean left says:

    ALEC knows how the Saudis and North Koreans do things, I see.

  7. Laura says:

    Legal bribery at its best!

  8. Betty Johnson Loriz says:

    I believe a read somewhere that State Farm is one of the company’s contributing to ALEC. Would you please confirm this? I have a few policies with them and I will cancel them if they continue to contribute. You really should show a list of all the companies who contribute — would be appreciated. Thank you

  9. Joan Savage says:

    In New York, proposed Assembly bill A5346A would establish Title XIII “Global Warming Pollution Control”in NYS Conservation Law. If approved, Section 19-1305 establishes reporting requirements and Section 19-1307 greenhouse gas limits, based on the aggregate emissions from all reported sources, but not greater than the reported aggregate emissions in 1990. In the draft legislation, the GHG reduction goals begin with 20% by 2020, with incremental increase to 80% by 2050.
    Tomorrow is lobbying day on this and other environmental protection legislation. Please wish us well.
    If I see any ALECs I’ll let you know.

  10. TKPGH says:

    This piece sends shivers down my spine. I’m currently slated to enter a renewable energy training program at a community college in the Pittsburgh area and now I’m concerned that I’ll wind up without any prospects when the program is over. These clowns just keep pushing. Maybe it’s time we surrounded the White House again.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Pushing is one of the things that they do best, and capitalism is nothing if not the ‘society of sharp elbows’.

    • BaileyinMI says:

      You’ll have plenty of opportunities because the U.S. military is committed to renewable energy. It is considered a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY. Your timing couldn’t be better!

  11. maya says:

    good — they’re announcing this beforehand.. they will lose even more sponsors…..

  12. Jeff R says:

    One more sad thing about the fight against renewables is the effect on jobs.

    What with more efficient underground mining equipment and the industry’s switch to mountain top removal, the coal industry is losing jobs. While despite increased drilling and production during the last 3 years the oil industry is slowly losing jobs too. But in renewables, with rising sales increasing manufacturing, sales, and installation in the country, renewable jobs are growing by roughly 25% a year.

    If ALEC and its co-conspirators succeed in keeping their huge subsidies to the oil industry and quashing renewables the outlook for national energy independence and job growth in the energy industry is really quite grime.

    • TKPGH says:

      Jeff,

      I’m interested in knowing the source of the 25% growth rate figure. Here in PA it’s GAS, GAS, GAS, 24/7. I do searches for renewables jobs and come up empty. I’ll admit that I have more to do in the way of researching this issue, but, at face value, with a Republican governor and GOP majority in the state house, renewables will have tough sledding here.
      Programs like the one I’m entering should be in place all across the country. It’s comprehensive and completely grant-funded. Having been a miner back in the 70’s and 80’s, I can tell you that a lot of those guys would jump ship if they could get a like-paying job above ground. I feel sorry that they would have to go through the transition, but I can tell you that I don’t regret quitting the job. On another front, I have heard from reputable sources that there is work being done in the area of making carbon fiber from coal-derived feedstocks. If the auto industry gets its act togther in regard to lightweighting, this could be a significant alternative endeavor for the coal industry.

  13. WhichTruth says:

    ALEC will lose much of its power as soon as we vote their shills out of office. In November we have the opportunity accomplish some of this at the state level, and 100% at the US Congress level. They probably have a few Senatorial shills up for re-election too.

  14. Alvin Mites says:

    A well informed and participating populace is the only lasting way to prevent groups such as ALEC from putting the desires of a few above the will of the many.

    Thank you for shining a light on this new item, I hope that it reaches enough people to keep us on our toes watching for sneaky amendments and similar tactics.