The secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hosted state legislators and conservative special interest lobbyists last week, and the agenda included private meetings between fossil-fuel lobbyists and conservative legislators working to undo Obama administration environmental protections through state legislatures.
The agenda for ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force was circulated last week after it was posted online. Among the agenda items for ALEC members working on energy issues:
Presentation: Tracking the Economic Impact of Federal Action on Endangered Species
Model Policy: State Endangered Species Conservation and Coordination Act
The session suggests that ALEC is working to rewrite state endangered species acts to allow energy production in areas inhabited by endangered species (why else would this issue be on the energy task force agenda?). The presentation suggests that the first line of attack is designed to show that federal action to protect endangered species costs too much money and too many jobs. Watch for this legislation in New Mexico’s legislature in 2015.
Presentation: Section 111(d) and the Path Forward: The Role of State Agencies and Officials
Model Policy: Act Requiring Approval of State Plan to Implement EPA’s Carbon Guidelines
ALEC has long targeted EPA regulations (section 111(d)) requiring states to implement strict greenhouse gas emissions policies. Bolstered by new Republican majorities in states (including NM), they are taking a new run at chaining state policies that implement this federal requirement.
Model Policy: Resolution Urging Congress to Replace the Environmental Protection Agency
It’s no surprise that ALEC’s polluting members want to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. They are now asking states to pass resolutions calling for its elimination (and the regulations that go with it).
In case you were wondering, here’s the entire ALEC Energy Task Force Agenda:
The Washington Post reported on the meeting and the anti-environmental agenda today:
Oil, gas and coal interests that spent millions to help elect Republicans this year are moving to take advantage of expanded GOP power in Washington and state capitals to thwart Obama administration environmental rules.
Industry lobbyists made their pitch in private meetings last week with dozens of state legislators at a summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an industry-financed conservative state policy group.
The lobbyists and legislators considered several model bills to be introduced across the country next year, designed to give states more power to block or delay new Obama administration environmental standards, including new limits on power-plant emissions.
The industry’s strategy aims to combat a renewed push by President Obama to carve out climate change as a top priority for his final two years in office. The White House has vowed to continue using executive authority to enact more environmental limits, and the issue is shaping up to be a major flash point heading into the 2016 presidential election.
With support from industry lobbyists, many Republicans are planning to make the Environmental Protection Agency a primary political target, presenting it as a symbol of the kind of big-government philosophy they think can unify social and economic conservatives in opposition.
No word, yet, on which NM legislators attended this latest ALEC meeting; but, we’ve been tracking ALEC members and legislation in New Mexico. You can see NM’s known ALEC members here.