ALEC members survey new energy outlook

Source: Emily Holden, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Conservative state lawmakers who are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council meet this week in Washington to review what they see as a much more favorable landscape for energy policy under President-elect Donald Trump.

“So much state policy has been indelibly tied to the Clean Power Plan, and states have been taking a wait-and-see approach with litigation,” said John Eick, director of ALEC’s energy, environment and agriculture task force. Most now assume U.S. EPA’s climate standards for the power sector will be rescinded or overturned by the courts.

Legislators in particular will be re-examining the need for renewable portfolio standards to push zero-carbon power, Eick said. Without the specter of the Clean Power Plan, they may not feel the standards are necessary, he noted. Eick said it’s likely red and blue states will diverge more on the issue of renewable energy standards under a Trump administration.

Members will also review a paper from the Consumer Energy Alliance looking at subsidies for rooftop solar power. They will hear a presentation on research into carbon capture from coal plants in Wyoming.

Lawmakers will vote on a resolution supporting a permanent nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, as Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader who has long opposed the plan, prepares to retire. Nuclear advocates have acknowledged other members may have concerns with the repository.

The ALEC meeting is closed to the press.

Next week, the National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Capitol Forum meeting and Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.

In case you missed it

  • Trump suggested he will keep an “open mind” about the Paris climate deal. What does that mean? (ClimateWire, Nov. 23).
  • The president-elect reshaped his energy and environment transition team, putting American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle in charge (Greenwire, Nov. 21).
  • A former top Justice Department environmental attorney who’s involved in the litigation challenging the Clean Power Plan will also serve on the transition team (Greenwire, Nov. 22).
  • Who is climate denier Myron Ebell, and what influence will he have on Trump’s EPA (ClimateWire, Nov. 21)?
  • For environmentalists, the fight against natural gas infrastructure becomes more urgent than ever (ClimateWire, Nov. 23).
  • The nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative met but offered little insight into whether the cap-and-trade system will continue to look at how to comply with the Clean Power Plan. The group is under pressure to tighten carbon goals, but some states oppose that effort (ClimateWire, Nov. 22).

For more on the Trump transition, click here.

Check out E&E’s updated guide to the legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan here.