U.S. Energy News

Clean energy ballot measures fail in several states

MIDTERMS:
Voters in several Western states reject ballot measures that would have moved them away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy. (Washington Post)
• The outcome of several gubernatorial races could have implications for clean energy development. (E&E News, subscription)
Nearly one fourth of the Republican members of the House Climate Solutions caucus were defeated, but the impact is unclear. (Greentech Media)

RESULTS BY STATE:

ALASKA: Alaska voters strike down an initiative extending new protections to the state’s salmon, an effort hotly opposed by the oil and gas and mining industries. (KTOO)

ARIZONA: Arizona voters overwhelmingly reject a ballot measure that would have required the state to get half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. (Arizona Republic)

CALIFORNIA: An initiative to limit new oil and gas production in San Luis Obispo County, California appears to fail, according to unofficial election results. (KQED)

COLORADO:
• Colorado voters soundly reject a ballot measure that would have increased drilling setbacks, a move industry officials say would have gutted the state’s lucrative oil and gas sector. (Denver Post)
• Voters in Boulder and Lafayette, Colorado pass a levy on oil and gas operations in the city limits even though it’s been a decade since a company filed a permit to drill. (Boulder Daily Camera)

GEORGIA: Republican incumbents were on track to hold off challengers for two seats on the Georgia Public Service Commission. (Marietta Daily Journal)

FLORIDA: Sunshine State voters approve a constitutional amendment banning offshore oil and gas drilling near the state’s coastline. (Pensacola News Journal)

ILLINOIS: A clean energy entrepreneur who made climate change a campaign issue takes a key U.S. House seat in Illinois. (Chicago Tribune)

NEBRASKA: A Keystone XL pipeline supporter wins a Public Service Commission race, while Omaha voters elect new members to a public power board who support a quicker transition to renewable energy. (Omaha World-Herald)

NEVADA:
• Nevada voters approve a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the state to get half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
• In another expensive race, Nevada’s largest utility will retain its monopoly in the state after voters reject a ballot measure to restructure the energy market and open it to competition. (Nevada Independent)

NEW MEXICO: Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich wins a second term, promising to put New Mexico “at the heart” of the nation’s clean energy transition. (KUNM)

NORTH DAKOTA: The defeat of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp may jeopardize the future of “clean coal” and carbon capture and sequestration. (Politico)

OHIO:
• Voters in Youngstown, Ohio, reject a local fracking ban for the eighth time. (Youngstown Vindicator)
• Voters in a Columbus, Ohio, suburb give city officials the go ahead to explore municipal electricity aggregation. (ThisWeek)

OREGON: Portland voters overwhelmingly approve a tax on large retailers in the city to fund clean energy and efficiency programs. (The Oregonian)

TEXAS: Republican Christi Craddick wins re-election to the Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees oil and gas operations. (Midland Reporter Telegram)

WASHINGTON:
A ballot measure to create the nation’s first carbon tax was poised to fail, though the campaign was not ready to concede. (Reuters)
Voters’ rejection of the carbon tax suggests one of the nation’s most progressive states still struggles to pass muscular climate policy. (The Atlantic)
• Proponents of Washington’s carbon tax campaign said they are already thinking ahead on how to push the issue through legislation. (Seattle Times)

WEST VIRGINIA: Republican Carol Miller defeats Democrat Richard Ojeda in a U.S. House race that had pit the fossil fuel industry against mining unions. (Huffington Post, The Intercept)

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EMISSIONS: In a rare moment of regulatory unity, Texas joins California in opposing the EPA’s plan to exempt coal-fired power plants from an air pollution permitting program. (Bloomberg)

STORAGE: Texas energy companies file comments with state regulators arguing transmission and distribution utilities cannot legally own battery storage under state rules. (Utility Dive)

EFFICIENCY:
• A Utah utility scales back its investment in energy efficiency programs, a move clean energy advocates say will result in more waste, higher utility bills and pollution. (Utility Dive)
New York City officials are preparing to release legislation that would force the city’s 50,000 largest buildings to dramatically cut their energy consumption. (Commercial Observer)

COAL: A jury deliberates on whether workers sickened after cleaning up the nation’s largest coal ash spill suffered harm because of work conditions. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

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GRID: ISO New England will enact two new initiatives to help ensure winter reliability, including a three-week energy forecast that monitors fuel supplies in the region. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
• Government intervention to protect specific power plants is unnecessary and “will raise consumer costs and discourage investment in newer, cleaner, more efficient technologies,” writes the head of grid operator PJM. (Utility Dive)
Vermonters can help the local economy by heating their homes with wood instead of gas, says the assistant director of Renewable Energy Vermont. (VT Digger)

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