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Bloomberg: Midterms Move Climate Battle Beyond Washington

Posted by Liam Denning on Nov 3, 2022

Bloomberg detailed how the midterm election results could push climate issues to the states, quoting J.R. Tolbert on the role utilities and state regulators play in the energy transition. Read snippets below and the full article here.

In former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden, the US had a climate-change denier followed immediately by the greenest White House yet. Many states responded to the Washington whiplash with moves of their own. Under Trump, more than a dozen adopted ambitious decarbonization targets, while, under Biden, others have put anti-green laws on the books.

Recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act has upped the stakes and next week’s midterms promise some variant of gridlock in Congress. That makes state-level elections, with local legislatures and governorships in most states up for grabs next week too, more important than ever in the battle over US climate policy...

Utilities play a critical role in all this because they are both gatekeepers to local grids and are largely regulated at the state level. Moreover, as big employers, builders and campaign contributors, across much of the US “the most powerful interest in energy policy is the dominant utility in the state,” says J.R. Tolbert, a vice president at Advanced Energy Economy, which advocates at the state and federal level for clean energy. Since utility regulators are either elected directly or appointed by governors, state elections can determine how far, or not, the IRA’s inducements apply in one state versus another...

Over time, the falling cost of clean technology and the investment it entails — creating local constituencies in the process — presents a growing challenge to the GOP’s orthodoxy on energy and climate. For now, expect the battle that has played out in Washington to shift to a statehouse near you, if it hasn’t already.

Read the full article here.

Topics: State Policy, Federal Policy, AEE In The News, JR Tolbert