Blog posts : "state of the states"
In the States
AZ – Governor Jan Brewer has announced that Arizona will no longer fully participate in the Western Climate Initiative, citing potential higher costs for consumers. The Governor signed an executive order effectively withdrawing the State from the planned cap-and-trade system and ordering the Department of Environmental Quality to review a plan to place more regulations on vehicle emissions. Although these two programs will not be implemented, the State is not fully withdrawing from the Initiative, and will continue to work with other States to promote solar energy, limit pollution by setting smart growth policies, and taking steps to adapt to climate change. The State is also continuing a program to make its entire state vehicle fleet hybrid, low-emission, or alternative fuel by 2012. Arizona quits Western climate endeavor – Arizona Republic
MA – Governor Deval Patrick’s recently announced new plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions. When combined with measures he and others have already put into place, these proposals would result in an 18.6% decrease in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, according to a new draft report by the Eastern Research Group. The Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by the Governor in 2008, requires Massachusetts to lower greenhouse gas emissions 10% to 25% by 2020. The Governor cited the move toward reducing emissions as good for the environment and the economy, saying “[o]ur investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.” Mass. to meet gas reduction target – Boston Globe and Draft Report to Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee [pdf] – Eastern Research Group
WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal is proposing stricter regulations on the wind power industry, including an excise tax of $3 per megawatt hour, and more restrictions on land use and zoning that would make building wind turbines and producing wind energy more expensive. The Governor said that the wind energy industry “remains a profit-oriented business that should be treated the same as other energy producers." Gov.: Tax wind power – Star-Tribune
State of the States – Most Governors have given a State of the State address, and many of them have included energy issues in their speeches. Some of these are highlighted below. The full text and summaries of all of the State of the State addresses can be found on the Stateline.org website.
CT – Governor M. Jodi Rell proposed eliminating the sales tax on “machines, equipment, tools, materials, supplies, and fuels used in renewable energy and green technology” in her annual State of the State address. She also proposed a loan forgiveness program for students who get certain degrees related to renewable energy or health and choose to stay and work in the State.
MI – Governor Jennifer Granholm said the Federal economic stimulus has helped the State make investments in clean energy and “take us from the rust belt to the green belt” in her State of the State address. The Governor also said that several billion private sector dollars have been invested in building electric cars, batteries, wind turbines, and solar cells resulting in the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.
NV – In his State of the State address, Governor Gibbons said that his office is working to promote solar, wind, and geothermal energy as well as research and development for new green technologies. The Governor noted economic and environmental benefits, saying these industries would create long-term high-paying jobs.
President Barack Obama met with a bipartisan group of 11 Governors recently to discuss the future of energy. While the President underscored the need to produce more biofuels, especially ethanol, and cleaner coal, Governor Gregoire of Washington expressed interest in nuclear power, Governor Rounds of South Dakota asked for help in developing biofuels resources in the Midwest, and Governor Beshear of Kentucky praised Obama’s interest in clean coal and expressed concern over cap-and-trade proposals. Also in attendance were Governors Riley of Alabama, Baldacci of Maine, Schweitzer of Montana, Strickland of Ohio, Bredesen of Tennessee, Douglas of Vermont, Manchin of West Virginia, and Freudenthal of Wyoming. Governors talk energy with Obama – Stateline.org and Wash. Gov. says nuclear energy must be considered – Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rounds says he pushed for SD in energy meeting – KTIV.com and Kentucky Gov. Beshear praises Obama clean-coal initiative – Courier-Journal
More than 200 companies, including some major energy companies, have combined efforts to promote the passage of a Senate climate change bill this year. Leaders from the companies and business groups have cited the need to compete with China, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and reduce carbon emissions as all worthy goals that can be achieved through climate change legislation. In the Senate, Senators Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham are working together to craft legislation that will attract Republicans and Democrats. President Obama has also shown a willingness to compromise to pass a bill this year: he proposed allowing more nuclear power in his State of the Union address, requested more Federal loans to build nuclear power plants in his FY2011 budget, and asked Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to address the issue of nuclear fuel and waste. Coming together on climate bill – Politico
In the States
State of the States – More than half of all Governors have given their State of the State addresses, and a many of them have included energy issues in their speeches. Some of these are highlighted below. The full text and summaries of all of the State of the State addresses can be found on the Stateline.org website.
AK – Governor Sean Parnell gave his first State of the State speech, in which he advocated drilling for more oil and natural gas, saying that drilling would contribute to a “more secure, domestic energy future.” The Governor specifically promoted drilling in the outer continental shelf and in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
HI – Governor Linda Lingle focused on energy in her State of the State speech, calling the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative “one of our most successful collaborations.” The Governor cited clean energy as important for the environment, the economy, and security, while introducing new tax incentives, bonds, and a ban on power plants that burn fossil fuels as ideas to achieve the State’s clean energy goals.
IN – In his State of the State address, Governor Mitch Daniels cited the fact that Indiana has been “the fastest growing State in wind power” over the past two years as proof of the State’s strength, and said that “within weeks, you’ll see us explode onto the solar power landscape.” He also said that the State’s goal is to become the capital of the electric vehicle industry, a “potentially massive industry of tomorrow.”
ME – A large portion of Governor John Baldacci’s State of the State Address focused on the future of energy in Maine. In terms of energy production, the Governor focused on the potential for offshore wind power generation, biofuels, and tidal energy. Governor Baldacci also focused on energy efficiency and conservation efforts such as rebates to homeowners for weatherization and grants to businesses for energy reductions.
MS – Governor Haley Barbour touted forthcoming projects in his State of the State address, including coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas power plants, carbon capture technologies, and creating fuel from waste products such as pet coke and wood waste. Governor Barbour also promoted the expansion of nuclear, biofuel, and natural gas industries, saying that “as long as I am Governor, Mississippi will have an energy policy; and it’s more affordable, American energy.”
OH – Governor Ted Strickland opened his State of the State address with an overview of recent energy programs and investments in Ohio before announcing his new energy proposals. Specifically, the Governor advocated a new “Energy Gateway Fund” that would invest $40 million in State and federal money into solar, wind, fuel cells, energy storage, and other alternative energy projects, and restructuring tax incentives to promote more wind and solar energy production.
UT – In his State of the State address, Governor Gary Herbert unveiled the Utah Energy Initiative, which will develop a ten-year plan to ensure the use of modern technology combined with local inexpensive fuels to create jobs and economic opportunity. The Governor also touted the State’s abundance of energy resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric, as well as a number of specific alternative energy projects.
WI – Governor Jim Doyle used his State of the State speech to propose new alternative energy initiatives that would increase energy production within the State. Currently, Wisconsin spends $16 billion per year on energy coming from outside its borders. The Governor supported the Clean Energy Jobs Act that would expand the State’s requirement for alternative energy use to 25% by 2025 and reduce total energy consumption by 2% by 2015. Governor Doyle also announced a new “Wisconsin Gold to Green Fund,” a $100 million revolving loan to allow manufacturers to reduce energy costs.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama expressed his continued support for climate change legislation and prodded the Senate to pass its version of the bill after passing jobs and financial regulation legislation. The President called upon opponents of climate change legislation to engage in negotiation by offering concessions on oil and gas drilling and some other issues, and received a standing ovation from both parties when he endorsed building more nuclear power plants. The call to action generated mixed reactions from Representatives and Senators. Climate change bill advocates Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer expressed optimism that a bill would be passed, while some other Democrats were skeptical of the bill’s chances or the President’s commitment to the issue, and some Republicans dismissed the bill’s chances altogether. Obama holds firm on climate bill, but most Senators shrug – New York Times
In giving the Republican response to the State of the Union, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell criticized the Obama administration for delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy, and for proposing what he described as “job-killing cap-and-trade energy taxes.” The Governor also said that Virginia may be the first State to explore for and produce oil and gas off the shore of the East Coast. McDonnell’s response for GOP focuses on jobs – Richmond Times-Dispatch