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    Oil Companies Are Quietly Killing Clean Energy Laws Around the Country

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    If you haven’t heard of ALEC, just imagine every villain from every movie made about Wall Street sitting around a long table in a smokey room, plotting to use their corporate power to exploit dumb commonfolk like you. They’re probably cackling diabolically, too. Yeah, the American Legislative Exchange Council is the group of business leaders and industry titans (members include Koch, BP, and Exxon honchos) behind state-level Stand Your Ground, anti-climate change and voter restriction laws. They are the worst.

    The group drafts “model bills” and then share them directly with state legislators, who sometimes use the very text of said bills in those that they submit to the statehouse. Influential corporate execs are literally writing laws. And now they’ve set about pushing a platform that erases clean energy progress states may have made. They’re pushing a “model” bill called the “Electricity Freedom Act” that does away with the renewable energy portfolios currently in place in many states; those that require a certain percentage of power be generated from clean sources.

    Midwestern Energy News has the scoop: (via Grist)

    The bill says that wind and solar power are expensive and unreliable, and that forcing utilities to use renewables threatens electric grid reliability and will increase the cost of doing business through rate increases or higher taxes.

    “What renewable energy mandates do is force electric utilities, and thus ratepayers, to integrate only a politically preferred choice of electricity generation, thus limiting choices,” Todd Wynn, ALEC’s energy, environment and agriculture task force director, said in an interview.

    The proposal was written by an ALEC task force funded and comprised of representatives from major oil, gas and power companies, including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Koch, and Shell.

    Of course, MEN points out that the utilities themselves have no such complaints; rates have barely risen, and there have been no reliability problems to speak of. More likely that oil and gas companies see a threat in policies that promote renewable power—and since they currently have the political influence to quash it, they’re doing so, largely unnoticed, at the state level.

    I shouldn’t have to remind anyone that renewable energy is clearly the future, and that these policies are laying the groundwork for a sustainable bounty of energy that can replace gas and coal; one day, perhaps oil too. To kill them in the dark, behind closed doors is craven and antithetical to democracy—the kind of stuff these oil executive assholes excel at.