The GOP blitzkrieg against Ohio’s energy efficiency and green energy mandates has resumed, moving at a pace that could throw the hot potato into Gov. John Kasich’s lap within a week. The key question then, critics of the bill say: Will Kasich be willing to become the first governor to cripple both his state’s renewable energy and efficiency standards, or to sit by without his veto pen while lawmakers do it? Backers of the bill would phrase it differently: Will Kasich take the necessary step to loosen energy mandates that are strangling the economic recovery?
The latest version of a repeal, SB 310, would put the energy efficiency and renewable standards on hold for two years while a committee studies the costs. A national effort to repeal state energy standards has been led by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, whose members include oil, gas and coal companies. Sen. Seitz sits on the board of ALEC. If it is successful, SB 310 will be the first bill in the country to repeal state energy standards.
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday that it’s long past time the government stopped subsidizing wind energy. “Neither of us is saying there is no place for wind energy. There is an important place for it … but it’s time for the federal subsidy to end,” Flake said on the Senate floor.
The developers of what could become the largest wind energy project in the U.S. have submitted their application for a state permit to build the wind farm. The Power Company of Wyoming submitted its industrial siting permit application on Tuesday for its proposed Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm south of Rawlins.
The Power Company is a wholly owned affiliate of Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz’s The Anschutz Corp.
The wind industry has praised the change for offering much needed, long-term certainty on what had been a legal gray area, while some conservation groups have called the permits a license to kill. Ultimately, the legal fight might not have great consequences for South Dakota, where there’s little evidence indicating the state’s wind farms are causing eagle fatalities. South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Gary Hanson said while high numbers of reported golden eagle deaths are reported in wind-farm accidents in California and Montana, “there really haven’t been many reported at all in South Dakota. I don’t know if there will be much effect here.”
The Supreme Court ruling late last month that upheld a U.S. EPA rule curbing air pollution that crosses state lines bolstered the agency’s confidence that its upcoming greenhouse gas regulations will withstand legal challenges, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said today. That ruling “is one of the biggest wins our agency has ever had,” McCarthy told the Association of Climate Change Officers meeting in Washington, D.C.
A popular bill to extend dozens of expired business tax incentives — including several renewable electricity, energy efficiency and alternative fuels credits — cleared a key hurdle in the Senate yesterday even as it remained in danger of faltering amid bitter partisan fights that have nearly ground lawmaking to a halt. Senators overwhelmingly voted in favor of a procedural measure to formally take up the so-called tax extenders bill, but that 96-3 tally may not shield the legislation from tough hurdles ahead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is again expected to block any amendments to the bill, a move sure to further enrage Republicans who say they are routinely shut out of the legislative process.
In a memo to President Bill Clinton, then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson pulled no punches. “I think we need to turn this into a concerted campaign. I’m ready to hit the trail,” Richardson wrote. But Richardson wasn’t talking about heading off to Iowa or New Hampshire to secure votes for the president from the campaign stump. Instead, he was asking for White House support on his effort to win the backing of the developing world for a fight against climate change.
A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries. Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.
The growth of coal-fired power generation is “unsustainable” without carbon capture and sequestration technology, the International Energy Agency said in a report released today. The report describes efforts to manage electric power production to achieve climate goals as bleak. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said an autonomous body of 29 member countries saw coal use as a serious problem. In previous estimates, the group predicted coal demand would grow 2.3 percent per year on average through 2018.