ALEC and polluters release new, uninspired schemes to block climate action

With most of America enduring major heat waves this week, mild and sunny San Diego is not a bad place to be — especially if you want to ignore climate change and block clean energy solutions. Turns out that’s where polluting companies and conservative state lawmakers are gathering right now for the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual summer conference. ALEC, funded by industry interests like Peabody Coal and the Koch brothers, is hosting the typical round of closed-door discussions for polluter lobbyists to write model bills for legislators.

This past year has left ALEC in crisis mode – it lost nearly all of its state battles against climate action, while a growing number of high-profile members like Google and Facebook have cut ties over ALEC’s climate denial positions.

But despite these major fails, ALEC’s draft conference agenda indicates that its crisis-management strategy is to stay the familiar course: defend polluters, hinder clean energy development, and obstruct climate solutions. ALEC isn’t even coming up with interesting new schemes to stymie progress — it is simply adding new twists on the tired polluter strategies that have already flopped. Here’s a quick look at some of the model bills up for discussion this week:

  • Attacking the EPA’s Clean Power Plan: The “State Power Accountability and Reliability Charter (SPARC)” is a new variation on ALEC’s failed strategy last year, supporting Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s call to governors to “just say no” to the Clean Power Plan. ALEC is pushing state legislatures to block governors from complying with the EPA’s carbon pollution limits on power plants and prevent state agencies from adopting measures that would reduce customers’ electricity bills. Here’s a roundup and a handy map showing this approach failed in 22 out of 23 states since January 2015.

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