Kansas House Rejects Koch-Backed Push To Kill Clean Energy Law


A bipartisan group of Kansas state representatives voted on Wednesday to reject a bill that sought to repeal the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), just one day after the senate approved the measure. The repeal effort was backed by powerful interests, including Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — both of which are funded by petrochemical billionaires and Kansas natives, Charles and David Koch.

Supporters of the repeal tried to tie the state’s renewable standard to a rise in electricity rates, with Rep. Marc Rhoades (R-Newton) claiming a continuation of the RPS in Kansas would lead to “forty percent increases to the electrical rates to your constituents,” the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

According to a report by the Kansas Corporation Commission, however, “the impact of the renewable energy standards is about one-fifth of one cent of the average 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour electricity cost,” the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

“This is nothing more than folks who want to exercise political power,” Rep. Russell Jennings (R-Lakin) said of the bill to kill the RPS. “This is about wanting to have a win for the sake of having a win without considering the potential benefit all of this has.”

Both ALEC and AFP have used their ample funding from corporations, fossil fuel interests, and the Koch brothers to engage in numerous efforts to derail clean energy growth in states across the country. While Kansas’ RPS enjoys wide support among residents and is fostering the growth of the state’s booming wind industry, clean energy advocates in the state aren’t resting easy.

“This bill was killed but unfortunately that does not mean the issue is dead for this session,” Dorothy Barnett, executive director of the Climate and Energy Project, said via email.

“We believe the strong show of support from the House sends a positive signal, however this is the third session in a row the RPS has been under attack.”