ALEC

Trump Admin Proposes 70% Cut To Renewable Energy and Efficiency Programs at Energy Dept

Butcher knife on cutting board with dollar bill cut in half

According to Axios.com, the Trump Administration is proposing a 70 percent reduction in funding for the Department of Energy’s renewable and energy efficiency programs, a move that could severely dampen the recent surge in renewable energy production and job growth.

As Axios points out, a cut this steep will have trouble making its way through Congress, but it sets the bar incredibly low from a negotiation standpoint, meaning that the overall funding for the department will still fall significantly from previous years. Funding for the renewable energy programs dropped from $478 million in 2015 to $451 million in 2016, while energy efficiency programs increased from $721 million to $762 million in the same period.

Mapping EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt's Many Fossil Fuel Ties

Map of Scott Pruitt's connections to fossil fuel interests

On Thursday, January 12, Senate Democrats raised another set of conflict of interest concerns about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In a letter to the Office of Government Ethics, members of the Senate's environment panel requested more background on Pruitt's dealings with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which Pruitt led for two years while coordinating with other state AGs to combat the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

“During his tenure as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has blurred the distinction between official and political actions, often at the behest of corporations he will regulate if confirmed to lead EPA,” the letter said. “Public reporting based on documents produced by Freedom of Infomation Act requests illustrate how Mr. Pruitt and members of his staff have worked closely with fossil fuel lobbyists to craft his office's official positions.”

GOP Congress, Trump Already Pushing Koch Industries' Bill to Hobble Regulatory Agencies

Kochtopus

One of the first orders of business for the freshly convened 115th Congress — now that it's no longer attempting to gut an independent ethics office  — is to pass a bill which could weaken the ability of federal regulatory agencies to do their jobs. 

That law, the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act of 2017, has long been a legislative priority for Koch Industries, Koch-funded advocacy groups such as Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Its latest iteration, H.R. 26*, has the backing of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and 159 co-sponsors (five Democrats and 154 Republicans) and has reached full debate on the House floor.***

REINS dictates that a “major rule shall not take effect unless the Congress enacts a joint resolution of approval” and won't become law if Congress does not pass that resolution by “70 session days or legislative days, as applicable.”

TV Show 'Years of Living Dangerously' to Ask, "Who Killed Electric Car Sales in Georgia?"

Ty Burrell in an electric car

Just two years ago, Georgia was an unlikely national leader in electric vehicle sales. Boosted by one of the nation’s most generous state-level EV tax incentives, by early 2014, Georgia trailed only California in EV registrations. Then, in January 2015, a new measure slipped into the state’s $1 billion transportation bill killed the credit, and added another $200 annual fee for EV drivers. Electric car sales immediately fell off a cliff.

According to Don Francis, the coordinator of Clean Cities-Georgia and Executive Director of the Partnership for Clean Transportation, overall EV sales fell by 90 percent, and sales of the Nissan LEAF are off nearly 95 percent.

On Wednesday night, Years of Living Dangerously will cover the brief, volatile history of electric cars in Georgia, with actor Ty Burrell traveling to Atlanta to see the effects of the slashed EV incentives on the transportation system and talk with local drivers.

Trump Economic Adviser "Pushing" for Climate Denier and Fossil Fuel Apologist to Head EPA

Kathleen Hartnett White

Stephen Moore — economic adviser for Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign — recently told Politico's Morning Energy that he is “pushing” to have a climate change denier and fossil fuel promoter, Kathleen Hartnett White, named as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if Trump is elected president in November.

ALEC 2016 Indianapolis Meeting Features ExxonMobil And The #WebOfDenial

Originally published on Greenpeace US

This month, nineteen United States Senators called attention to the Web of Denial, a network of front groups that oppose any productive action to combat climate change. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led the charge, building upon his weekly “Time To Wake Up” speech series on global warming, flagging the front groups that peddle climate doubt for their clients in the oil, gas and coal industries.

One of the top groups obstructing any form of progress is the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC convened its annual meeting in Indianapolis this week, where it hooks state politicians up with lobbyists from Koch Industries (and its many nonprofit tentacles), Peabody Energy, tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies and other industries looking to put pro-business policies  in the hands of state politicians.

The Koch and Exxon Funded Think Tanks Supporting, and Being Courted by, Britain’s Brexit Campaigners

Owen Paterson speaking at the Heritage Foundation

The Republican National Convention kicks off this week in Cleveland, Ohio and among the crowd clamouring to see Donald Trump will be one man who crossed the Atlantic to be there: Nigel Farage.

The former head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) helped lead Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) and is famous for saying last year “I haven’t got a clue whether climate change is being driven by carbon-dioxide emissions.”

But he’s made the trip this week to deliver a message to Republicans that the UK’s vote to leave the EU, or ‘Brexit’, holds lessons for America.

ExxonMobil: New Disclosures Show Oil Giant Still Funding Climate Science Denial Groups

ExxonMobil and the climate science denial machinery that it has helped to build over the years are now under more scrutiny than ever before.

At its most recent AGM, the oil and gas giant faced a barrage of questions and resolutions over its position on climate change. Then there is the not insignificant matter of investigations by a group of attorneys general that allege the company lied about its knowledge of the risks of burning fossil fuels. ExxonMobil is retaliating.

The company has pleaded innocence, with CEO Rex Tillerson telling the company’s shareholders that his views on climate science were perfectly in line with the United Nations.

But the latest disclosures on donations by ExxonMobil, reported publicly here for the first time, show it continues to support organisations that claim greenhouse gases are not causing climate change, or that cuts to emissions are a waste of time and money.

Organisations including the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Black Chamber of Commerce — all organisations with a record of misinformation on climate science — all received grants in 2015 from ExxonMobil. The 2015 tally brings the total amount of known Exxon funding to denial groups north of $33 million since 1998.

Lawmakers and Campaigners Fight Climate Science Denial in the Classroom

Last month, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and seven other Democrats introduced a bill to establish a nationwide climate science curriculum to teach high school students about man-made global warming.

The Climate Change Education Act mandates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create a climate science curriculum that would ensure students better understand “climate change and its effects on environmental, energy, social, and economic systems.”

The bill would “encourage and support statewide plans and programs for climate change education… to ensure that students graduate from high school climate literate, with a particular focus on programs that advance widespread State and local educational agency adoption of climate change education, including funding for State education agencies.”

Few think Markey’s bill stands a chance of passing in a Republican-led Congress. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced a similar bill in 2015 that died in committee.

Although positive action on climate change will likely have to wait for a new Congress to be seated, many advocates of climate science curricula in schools are not waiting.

"You Have Been Fooled": AGU Reopens Exxon Sponsorship Review After Stinging Letter From Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Lieu

The world’s biggest earth sciences organization has agreed to reconsider its decision to retain cash sponsorship ties to oil giant ExxonMobil after being told it had been “fooled” in a stinging letter from two members of Congress.

In the letter, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Ted Lieu, both Democrats, told the American Geophysical Union (AGU): “You have been fooled.  Whatever position AGU chooses to take, you should not take it based on self-serving representations by ExxonMobil.”

Last month, AGU announced its board had voted to continue a relationship with ExxonMobil.  Now that decision is under review.

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