It was kind of inevitable wasn’t it? After annihilating the movement to regulate carbon emissions the fossil fuel industry, most prominently Koch Industries, is going after the solar industry.
The Koch Brothers have partnered with large utilities to rollback programs to incentivize the use of renewable energy. Of chief concern are programs that help the solar industry such as net metering via solar panels and mandates that require utilities to have a percent of their power coming from renewable energy.
The strategy focuses primarily on state programs.
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.
Alarmed environmentalists and their allies in the solar industry have fought back, battling the other side to a draw so far. Both sides say the fight is growing more intense as new states, including Ohio, South Carolina and Washington, enter the fray.
The money that the energy companies can muster is considerable and though environmentalists have fought them to “a draw” for the moment it seems likely that the Koch Brothers and friends will make at least some gains.
And as for those designing the legislation to repeal renewable energy programs? I’ll give you one guess.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a membership group for conservative state lawmakers, recently drafted model legislation that targeted net metering. The group also helped launch efforts by conservative lawmakers in more than half a dozen states to repeal green energy mandates.
Now that conservative Republicans and corporate Democrats need only copy and paste ALEC’s proposals the ball can really get rolling.
But even if Koch Industries and friends do not succeed in repealing the renewable energy laws they have won by sucking resources out of the environmental movement. By forcing activists to defend old gains the Kochs are ensuring new gains can’t be made. Climate change can continue unabated as Koch coal burns and burns.
Happy Earth Day.