Quantcast

Why ALEC's Attacks on Renewable Energy Failed Nationwide

Business

Though nonprofit organizations and educators have recently touted clean energy as an alternative to carbon-polluting fossil fuels, a new report shows the lengths others have gone to prevent the growth of renewables.

The latest report from ProgressNow details how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) attempted to curtail renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in states across the country in 2013, to no avail.

"In contrast to economic rationality, and in defense of its corporate benefactors, ALEC attacked RPS throughout the states," the report reads. "[Thirty-seven] bills throughout the nation sought to roll back the nation’s varied RPS policies. ALEC’s bill failed to eliminate any standard, while four states even increased their standard."

Bold and italicized names indicate the primary sponsor is known to have ties to ALEC. Graphic credit: ProgressNow

Those standards establish minimum requirements for renewable use at state utilities. ProgressNow and the groups that support the organization found that ALEC set the stage for its rollback attempts a year ago in Salt Lake City, where it hosted an Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force (EEA) meeting with "the top echelon of fossil fuel interests and alternative energy opponents."

ALEC's Electricity Freedom Act was birthed at that meeting by fossil fuel titans looking to eliminate legislation in 29 states that had previously set various percentages and wattage amounts of renewable energy to be used by utilities. Officials at Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil are among those listed on ALEC's Private Enterprise Council.

The Electricity Freedom Act characterized RPS as "essentially a tax on consumers of electricity that forces the use of renewable energy sources beyond what would be called for by real market forces." Most of the anti-RPS legislation failed to make it beyond the introductory stage.

"They have almost no success," said Brian Wietgrefe, national research director at ProgressNow, told Huffington Post. "It's because it works—the policies work."

The report also shows efforts in several states to allow fracking companies to exclude chemical ingredients from their reports to state agencies, deeming them "trade secrets."

Bold and italicized names indicate the primary sponsor is known to have ties to ALEC. Graphic credit: ProgressNow

"[The Disclosure Of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act] is a Trojan horse," the report reads. "Using the guise of disclosure, the bill creates a loophole. Instead of the companies actually being required to disclose the chemicals, it effectively allows fracking corporations to disclose the information they want to disclose.

"And because the bill is not retroactive, and 1.1 million wells have been fracked since 1949, many operators will never have to disclose anything about what is present due to the fracking process."

Connor Gibson, a researcher at Greenpeace, pins the failure of ALEC-supported rollbacks on a simple observation—people like the benefits of renewable energy.

"It's very clear that people are being employed in part due to these incentives," Gibson said. "When people start seeing solar arrays [and] wind farms that are employing people in their districts, it becomes hard to roll back incentives."

http://oi.vresp.com/?fid=00b11039e0

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg with Charles Norman Shay, a Native American D-Day Veteran and a sponsor of the Freedom Award, during the 2019 Freedom Award Ceremony, in Abbaye-aux-Dames, Caen, France, on Sunday, July 21, 2019. (Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By Andrea Germanos

Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday urged people to recognize "the link between climate and ecological emergency and mass migration, famine, and war" as she was given the first "Freedom Prize" from France's Normandy region for her ongoing school strikes for climate and role in catalyzing the Fridays for future climate movement.

Read More Show Less
Protests led by Native Hawaiians have blocked the construction of a telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea on Big Island. Actions for Mauna Kea / Facebook

By Jessica Corbett

A week after construction was scheduled to resume on a long-delayed $1.4 billion telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea — a dormant volcano on Hawaii's Big Island — thousands of Native Hawaiians who consider the mountain sacred continued to protest the planned observatory.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
California Condor at soaring at the Grand Canyon. Pavliha / iStock / Getty Images

North America's largest bird passed an important milestone this spring when the 1,000th California condor chick hatched since recovery efforts began, NPR reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less
The Roloway monkey has been pushed closer to extinction. Sonja Wolters / WAPCA / IUCN

The statistics around threatened species are looking grim. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added more than 9,000 new additions to its Red List of threatened species, pushing the total number of species on the list to more than 105,000 for the first time, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

The campaign to re-elect President Donald Trump has found a new way to troll liberals and sea turtles.

Read More Show Less
Night long exposure photograph of wildifires in Santa Clarita, California. FrozenShutter / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristy Dahl

Last week, UCS released Killer Heat, a report analyzing how the frequency of days with a dangerously hot heat index — the combination of temperature and humidity the National Weather Service calls the "feels like" temperature — will change in response to the global emissions choices we make in the coming decades.

Read More Show Less
A Zara store in Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Timahaowemi / CC BY-SA 3.0

Green is the new black at Zara.

The Spanish fast fashion behemoth has made a bold move to steer its industry to a more environmentally friendly future for textiles. Inditex, Zara's parent company, announced that all the polyester, cotton and linen it uses will be sustainably produced by 2025, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less