model bill

State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

  • Posted on: 18 February 2019
  • By: Connor Gibson

Image and related article via The Real News Network.

Updated October 14, 2019. Greenpeace USA.

Lawmakers in several states are introducing bills that would increase criminal penalties for people who trespass "critical infrastructure" facilities, such as oil and gas pipelines, power plants, and petrochemical refineries. 

According to many of these legislators, these bills are a reaction to widespread protests of oil and gas infrastructure. Some of the protests have captured the nation's attention, such as the indigenous-led protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota and in Iowa against the Dakota Access Pipeline, opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline from Nebraska to Texas, protests of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana, and opposition to several pipeline projects in Pennsylvania.

Nine states have enacted some form of these bills into law: North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Missouri.

This effort to add felony-level penalties to peaceful protestors does not appear to be in reaction from the constituents of the politicians sponsoring such legislation. In contrast, there is much evidence of coordinated pressure from the oil and gas industry, electric utilities, and chemical companies. According to The Intercept, 85 percent of the nation's "critical infrastructure" is privately owned.

Many of these bills are virtually identical. Several companies and lobbying organizations used groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) to put these policies into the hands of legislators. These model "critical infrastructure" anti-protest bills adopted by ALEC and by CSG would allow prosecutors to impose large fines and felonies, not only on individuals who are arrested, but organizations that are deemed to be supporting those individuals. 

Offenses such as vandalism and violence are already illegal in these states and grounds for prosecution. Nonviolent offenses, like trespassing, are also already illegal in these states. People arrested for protesting oil and gas infrastructure--before these "critical infrastructure" bills became law in several states--already faced severe legal threats. Many people were jailed, imprisoned, and fined for nonviolent activities that occurred during protests of petrochemical pipelines.

The following pages assemble a variety of information on these state bills, and the model bills, organized by state, and then in reverse chronological order. This research is an attempt to measure how polluting companies are using a combination of lobbying, state legislative consortiums, and campaign cash to afford extra legal enforcement against protests of oil, gas, and electric infrastructure. Greenpeace relied heavily on the US Protest Law Tracker, published by the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL). 

OIL & GAS INFRASTRUCTURE ANTI-PROTEST BILLS, BY STATE: 

* = bill(s) passed into law

These pages will continue to be updated with new information.

OIL & GAS INFRASTRUCTURE ANTI-PROTEST BILLS, PRESENT TO PAST:

2019: 

October 10, 2019: Wisconsin AB 426 passed in House vote, referred to Senate. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

September 18, 2019: South Dakota SB 198 "riot boosting" law blocked by US District Judge Lawrence Pierson via preliminary injunction (see Mother Jones and Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

September 12, 2019: Wisconsin AB 426 introduced. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

September 5, 2019: Wisconsin SB 386 introduced. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

July 11, 2019: Missouri HB 355 signed into law by Governor. (see Missouri Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

June 14, 2019: Texas HB 3557 signed into law by Governor. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

May 29, 2019: Illinois HB 1633 died in Senate committee after being tabled. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 20, 2019: Texas HB 3557 passed in Senate, previously passed in House. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 15, 2019: Tennessee SB 0264 signed into law by Governor. (see Tennessee Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 15, 2019: Missouri HB 355 passed in Senate with amendment adding "critical infrastructure" language. (see Missouri Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 6, 2019: Indiana SB 471 signed by Governor as Act 471. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 1, 2019: Ohio SB 33 passed in Senate. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Apr. 30, 2019: Tennessee SB 0264 passed in House, previously passed in Senate. (see Tennessee Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 11, 2019: North Dakota SB 2044 signed into law by Governor. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 11, 2019: Illinois HB 1633 passed in House. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Mar. 27, 2019: South Dakota SB 189 signed by Governor Kristi Noem (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 25, 2019: North Dakota SB 2044 passed in House, prevously passed in Senate. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 19, 2019: Indiana SB 471 passed in House, previously passed in Senate. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 7, 2019: Texas SB 1993 filed. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 7, 2019: South Dakota SB 189 passed in Senate and in House (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 6, 2019: Texas HB 3557 filed. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 5, 2019: Mississippi SB 2754 died in House commiitee. (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 5, 2019: Kentucky SB 238 died in Senate committee. (See Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 4, 2019: South Dakota SB 189 introduced. (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Feb. 15. 2019: Kentucky SB 238 passed in House. (See Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 12, 2019: Ohio SB 33 introduced. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 12, 2019 Idaho SB 1090 died in Senate committee. (see Idaho Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 11, 2019: Idaho SB 1090 introduced and read first time on February 11, 2019. (see Idaho Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 11, 2019: Mississippi SB 2754 passed in Senate. (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 7, 2019: Indiana SB 471 passed in Senate. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 7, 2019: Illinois SB 1304 introduced, concurrent with HB 1633. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 5, 2019: Kentucky SB 238 introduced. (See Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 4, 2019: Wyoming HB 10 died in committee(see Wyoming Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Jan. 31, 2019: Illinois HB 1633 introduced. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 23, 2019: Missouri SB 293 introduced, later folded into HB 355, above. (see Missouri Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 19, 2019: Mississippi SB 2754 introduced. (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 17, 2019: Pennsylvania Senators announced they will reintroduce SB 652. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 14, 2019: Indiana SB 471 introduced. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 3, 2019: North Dakota SB 2044 introduced. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2018:

Dec. 6, 2018: Ohio SB 250 passed Senate, then died in House committee. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Oct. 10, 2018: Pennsylvania SB 652 died in House committee. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Aug. 8, 2018: Louisiana Act 692 (HB 727) officially went into effect. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jun. 13, 2018: Pennsylvania SB 652 referred to House committee. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

May 30, 2018: Louisiana HB 727 signed by Governor as Act 692. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 30, 2018: Minnesota SF 3463 vetoed by governor. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 23, 2018: Pennsylvania SB 652 passed in Senate. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 9, 2018: Minnesota HB 3693 postponed and folded into SF 3463. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 17, 2018: Iowa SB 2235 signed by governor, became law. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Mar. 27, 2018: Iowa HF 2349 withdrawn, folded into SB 2235. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 26, 2018: Louisiana HB 727 introduced. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 15, 2018: Minnesota SF 3463 introduced (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 15, 2018: Wyoming SF 74 vetoed by governor. (see Wyoming Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 12, 2018: Minnesota HB 3693 introduced. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Feb. 19, 2018: Wyoming SF 74 introduced. (see Wyoming Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 16, 2018: Iowa HF 2349 introduced, replacing HSB 603 and SSB 3062. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 12, 2018: Iowa SB 2235 introduced. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Jan. 31, 2018: Iowa HSB 603 introduced. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 24, 2018: Ohio SB 250 introduced. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 23, 2018: Iowa SSB 3062 introduced. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 20, 2018: ALEC board approves model bill. (see American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC Model Bill: Critical Infrastructure Protection Act)

2017:

Dec. 15, 2017: Council of State Governments model bill adopted. (see Council of State Governments CSG Model Bill: Trespassing, Interference, and Destruction of Critical Infrastructure)

Dec. 7, 2017: ALEC model bill considered internally at ALEC meeting. (see American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC Model Bill: Critical Infrastructure Protection Act)

 

May 15, 2017: Oklahoma HB 2128 signed into law by governor. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 3, 2017: Oklahoma HB 1123 signed into law by governor. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Apr. 25, 2017: Pennsylvania SB 652 introduced. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 12, 2017: Colorado SB 17-035 died in House committee. (see Colorado Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Mar. 28, 2017: Georgia SB1 died in committee. (see Georgia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 27, 2017: South Dakota SB 176 signed into law by governor. (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Feb. 28, 2017: Colorado SB 17-035 approved by Senate. (see Colorado Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 23, 2017: North Dakota HB 1293 signed into law by governor. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 6, 2017: Oklahoma HB 2128 introduced. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 6, 2017: Oklahoma HB 1123 introduced. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 3, 2017: South Dakota SB 176 introduced. (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Jan. 12, 2017: North Dakota HB 1293 introduced. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 11, 2017: Colorado SB 17-035 introduced. (see Colorado Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 1, 2017: Georgia SB1 introduced. (see Georgia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2016:

Dec. 16, 2016: Washington SB 5009 pre-filed. (see Washington Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Dec. 8, 2016: Michigan HB 4643 referred to Senate, where the bill died. (see Michigan Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Dec. 7, 2016: Michigan HB 4643 approved by House. (see Michigan Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 2, 2016: Alabama HB 77 died after first reading in House Judiciary Committee (see Alabama Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2015:

August 1, 2015: Louisiana Act 366 becomes effective. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

July 1, 2015: Louisiana HB7 signed by Governor Bobby Jindal as Act 366. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 26, 2015: Michigan HB 4643 introduced. (see Michigan Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 6, 2015: Louisiana HB7 prefiled. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2006:

Council of State Governments adpoted “Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure” model bill. (see Council of State Governments CSG Model Bill: Trespassing, Interference, and Destruction of Critical Infrastructure)

2004:

June 10, 2004: Louisiana Act 157 signed into law by Governor Kathleen Blanco (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Media Reports & References:

2019

Jamie Corey, Fossil Fuel Industry Pushed Legislation Criminalizing Pipeline Protestors, Emails Show, Documented, August 20, 2019

Delilah Friedler, A Judge Just Blocked South Dakota’s “Riot-Boosting” Law, But Anti-Protest Measures Keep Spreading, Mother Jones, September 18, 2019

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Oil Companies Persuade States to Make Pipeline Protests a Felony, Bloomberg, August 19, 2019

Lee Fang, Oil Lobbyist Touts Success in Effort to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, Leaked Recording Shows, The Intercept, August 19, 2019

Jake Wartel, Anti-Protest Bills, from National to State Level, Gain Ground, Defending Rights & Dissent, July 12, 2019

Susie Cagle, 'Protesters as terrorists': growing number of states turn anti-pipeline activism into a crime, The Guardian, July 8, 2019

Delilah Friedler, South Dakota’s “Riot-Boosting” Law Aims to Curb the Next Standing Rock Before it Even Starts, Mother Jones, June 18, 2019

Naveena Sadasivam, Mess with a Texas pipeline now and you could end up a felon, Grist, June 17, 2019

Luke Darby, Red States Are Criminalizing Speech to Wage War on Environmental Activists, GQ, June 7, 2019

Alan Neuhauser, Pipeline Protest Laws Spark First Amendment Concerns, US News & World Report, June 6, 2019

Rebecca Stoner, Why are Unions Joining Conservative Groups to Protect Pipelines?, Pacific Standard, May 31, 2019

Alleen Brown, Pipeline Opponents Strike Back Against Anti-Protest Laws, The Intercept, May 23, 2019

New Lawsuit Challenges Anti-Protest Trespass Law, Center for Constitutional Rights, May 22, 2019

Jacob Shea, States Crack Down on Environmental Activists, Sierra Club, May 20, 2019

Naveena Sadasivam, After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines, Grist, May 14, 2019

Maggie Ellinger-Locke, ALEC Wants to Make Protest Illegal in Illinois, TruthOut / Greenpeace USA, May 10, 2019

Sue Udry, Free Speech is the Critical Infrastructure to our Democracy, Protect Rights & Dissent, May 8, 2019

Maggie Ellinger-Locke, Anti-Protest Legislation is Threatening our Climate, May 3, 2019

Mike Lee, High-profile protests spur state bids to tamp down unrest, E&E Publishing EnergyWire, April 24, 2019

Sarah Lazare and Simon Davis-Cohen, Fossil Fuel Companies Are Enlisting Police to Crack Down on Protesters, In These Times, April 16, 2019

Nicholas Kusnetz, More States Crack Down on Pipeline Protesters, Including Supporters Who Aren’t Even on the Scene, InsideClimate News, March 28, 2019

Alleen Brown, The Green Scare: How a Movement that Never Killed Anyone Became the FBI's #1 Domestic Terrorism Threat, The Intercept, March 23, 2019

Traci Yoder, The Attack on Climate Justice Movements, National Lawyers Guild, March 14, 2019

Sarah Bowman, This Indiana bill is meant to protect pipelines. Critics say it infringes on free speech., Indianapolis Star, March 10, 2019

Steve Horn, Bills Criminalizing Pipeline Protest Arise in Statehouses Nationwide, The Real News Network, February 22, 2019

Will Parrish, North Dakota Seeks to Restrict Access to Public Records After Standing Rock Reporting Exposed Law Enforcement Abuses, The Intercept, February 11, 2019

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, How Police, Private Security, and Energy Companies are Preparing for a New Pipeline Standoff, The Intercept, January 30, 2019

2018

Derek Seidman and Gin Armstrong, How to Research the Corporate Forces Behind Pipeline Protest Criminalization, LittleSis, September 27, 2018

Sarah Lustbader and Vaidya Gullapalli, States Use Anti-Protest Laws to Protect Oil Pipelines and Criminalize Environmental Activism, The Appeal, August 22, 2018

Nicholas Kusnetz, How Energy Companies and Allies Are Turning the Law Against Protesters, InsideClimate News / Washington Post, August 22, 2018

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, Recent Arrests Under New Anti-Protest Law Spotlight Risks that Off-Duty Cops Pose to Pipeline Opponents, The Intercept, August 22, 2018

Eliza Newlin Carney, Spate of anti-protest bills target social justice infrastructure, Sunlight Foundation, June 18, 2018

Sue Sturgis, Louisiana pipeline protection bill part of wider protest crackdown, Facing South / Institute for Southern Studies, May 11, 2018

Natasha Geiling, These states want to make planning a pipeline protest a crime, ThinkProgress, April 16, 2018

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, Louisiana and Minnesota Introduce Anti-Protest Bills Amid Fights over Bayou Bridge and Enbridge Pipelines, The Intercept, March 31, 2018

Vera Eidelman and Maggie Ellinger-Locke, The Assault on Environmental Protest, American Civil Liberties Union / Greenpeace USA, March 16, 2018

Sue Udry, Toxic Brew: State Politicians, Gas & Oil Lobbyists, and ALEC Join Forces Against Environmental Protesters, Protect Rights & Dissent, February 21, 2018

Steve Horn, Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests, DeSmog, February 21, 2018

Alexander C. Kaufman, Environmentalists Say They’re Averting Climate Disaster. Conservatives Say It’s Terrorism., HuffPost, February 20, 2018

Zoë Carpenter and Tracie Williams, PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests, The Nation, February 16, 2018

Traci Yoder, Conservative-led Anti-Protest Legislation Already Doubled Since Last Year, National Lawyers Guild, February 15, 2018

Andrew Graham, Would bill to protect energy infrastructure stifle protests?, WyoFile, February 15, 2018

Alleen Brown, Ohio and Iowa are the Latest of Eight States to Consider Anti-Protest Bills Aimed at Pipeline Opponents, The Intercept, February 2, 2018

2017

Steve Horn, As Trump Unfurls Infrastructure Plan, Iowa Bill Seeks to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, DeSmog, January 31, 2017

Steve Horn, ALEC, Corporate-Funded Bill Mill, Considers Model State Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protesters, DeSmog, December 11, 2017

Alleen Brown, Will Parrish and Alice Speri, Dakota Access-Style Policing Moves to Pennsylvannia's Mariner East 2 Pipeline, The Intercept, June 21, 2017

Sean Kitchen, ALEC Style Bills Aim to Criminalize Pipeline and Fracking Demonstrations Throughout Pennsylvania, Raging Chicken Press, May 10, 2017

Alleen Brown, Oklahoma Governor Signs Anti-Protest Law Imposing Huge Fines on "Conspirator" Organizations, The Intercept, May 6, 2017

Steve Horn, Newspaper Owned By Fracking Billionaire Leaks Memo Calling Pipeline Opponents Potential "Terrorists", DeSmog, April 23, 2017

Traci Yoder, New Anti-Protesting Legislation: A Deeper Look, National Lawyers Guild, March 2, 2017

    Contact: Connor Gibson - connor.gibson@greenpeace.org@climateconnor

    Industry: 

    Exposed: ALEC's new anti-environmental agenda in Chicago this week

    • Posted on: 7 August 2013
    • By: Connor Gibson

    New internal documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reveal new methods that fossil fuel companies, agrochemical interests and corporate lobbying groups will influence certain state policies in the coming months through the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

    ALEC's annual meeting is taking place in Chicago this week, just as Common Cause and CMD have filed a complaint to the IRS over ALEC's corporate-funded "Scholarships" for state legislators--ALEC is a tax exempt non-profit despite their mission of facilitating an exchange of company-crafted laws with state legislators in closed-door meetings.

    ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force is drafting new model bills on behalf of its members like Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and Peabody. ALEC's anti-environmental agenda in Chicago is available for viewing (see E&E PM and Earthtechling). These are the new model bills ALEC and its energy, chemical and agricultural interests are finalizing this week.

    The Market-Power Renewables Act and the Renewable Energy Credit Act: ALEC and other Koch-funded State Policy Network groups like the Heartland Institute haven't had much success with their attempts to repeal state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) laws through the ALEC/Heartland Electricity Freedom Act. The Market-Power Renewables Act and Renewable Energy Credit Act are two newer, more subtle attempt to weaken RPS laws by phasing in a renewable power voluntary program, creating space for existing and out-of-state energy credits to displace new clean energy, and eventually repealing the RPS requirements entirely.

    To slow the growth of clean energy competition, ALEC's fossil fuel members wrote these bills to allow increasing portions of a states clean energy generation requirements to be fulfilled by Renewable Energy Credits, or RECs. RECs are allowed to qualify in some states' RPS laws already, often in limited amounts, and they are not created equal. For instance, the benefits of burning gas leaking from landfills--something waste management companies would be selling anyway--are not on par with the societal benefits from building new sources of clean energy and displacing older, dirtier sources. You can see why ALEC member companies like American Electric Power or Duke Energy may take issue with this, given their reliance on coal and gas electricity generation.

    Increasing the amount that RECs can qualify for state RPS targets means allowing more out-of-state energy. This could displace in-state jobs and economic benefits from clean energy development. The RECs may also come from sources that aren't defined as "renewable" in some states' RPS laws, or are only allowed in limited amounts, such as hydropower, biomass or biogas, creating a lowest common denominator effect. At the end of any given year, the ALEC bill would allow states to bank any extra energy generated from RECs beyond what the RPS law requires and use them to meet RPS targets for the following year. This could continually delay the growth of new, clean energy.

    Resolution in Opposition to a Carbon Tax: Despite support for a carbon tax from ALEC members like ExxonMobil, ALEC is creating a model bill to weigh in on what will become the keystone policy battle for climate change science deniers, a battle that is already creating a rift among conservative groups, like the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute against the R Street Institute. R Street formed when Heartland's Fire, Insurance and Real Estate program split away last year, after Heartland's insurance company funders were uncomfortable with the group comparing those who acknowledge climate change to the Unabomber.

    Pre-Emption of Local Agriculture Laws Act: This bill would prevent governments under the state level (cities, towns, counties) from creating new laws or enforcing existing laws that have to do with the regulation of seeds and seed products--ie crops, flowers, and pretty much all food products grown in a state. This would allow companies like Monsanto (indirectly represented in ALEC through its membership in CropLife America, an agrochemical front group and ALEC energy task force member) to bottleneck regulations of their GMO seeds and products at the state government level and stop community resistance to their abusive patent laws and enforcement through lawsuits.

    For examples of what ALEC has already been busy with this year, check out PR Watch's roundup of 77 anti-environmental ALEC bills that have popped up in state legislatures in 2013, supporting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project, rolling back renewable energy incentives and making it illegal to document animal abuse, among other issues.

    More info on ALEC's broader corporate agenda can be found on ALEC Exposed.

    Industry: 

    Will ALEC block EPA coal pollution safeguards at Illinois' controversial Prairie State Energy Campus?

    • Posted on: 26 February 2013
    • By: Connor Gibson

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the Illinois-based Prairie State Energy Campus, a combined coal mine and power plant spearheaded by Peabody Energy, co-owned by eight public power companies based in the Midwest. Numerous cost overruns from construction delays and equipment problems at the Campus resulted in customers in several states having to pay for power well above market price.

    While Peabody defends Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) from SEC scrutiny, a corporate front group has developed copycat legislation that could exempt dirty projects like PSEC from national clean air and water laws.

    A model state bill developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would block federal pollution regulations when coal is mined and then burned or altered within the borders of a single state. The "Intrastate Coal and Use Act," created within ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force, is ideal for projects like Prairie State Energy Campus, which mines and burns coal on site.

    By exempting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from overseeing permits for projects like Prairie State, ALEC's Intrastate Coal and Use Act leaves regulation to state agencies, which may have weaker pollution standards or simply lack enough staff to do their jobs, as the gas fracking boom has demonstrated.  

    Peabody itself is a member of ALEC's anti-environmental task force, which readied the Intrastate Coal and Use Act for national distribution, and a member of ALEC's Private Enterprise Board, which may explain ALEC's role in promoting the Prairie State Energy Campus.

    Materials leaked to Greenpeace after ALEC's most recent conference in Washington DC show that the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal front backed by companies including Peabody, was showcasing Prairie State at ALEC's conference. Files in a USB drive branded with the ACCCE logo contained three promotional videos for PSEC while a paper folder with the ACCCE logo contained a promotional brochure for the Campus. 

    The ALEC model does not appear to have been introduced in Illinois, although ALEC has been busy pushing a wishlist of state laws for its dirty energy members companies like Peabody, Duke Energy and ExxonMobil.

    One of ALEC's national priorities this year is to un-legislate state incentives for clean energy under the false premise that they have an adverse impact on electricity rates. While there appears to be no significant correlation between state clean energy standards and raised utility rates, the Prairie State Energy Campus is raising electricity prices, as reported last July in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

    The St. Louis suburb [Kirkwood] needed a stable, long-term power source. The plant’s developers needed customers. The parties struck a deal — a 30-year contract that would supply more than half of Kirkwood’s electricity beginning in late 2011. The kicker: The energy produced at Prairie State would be cheap compared with market power prices at the time.

    But now, as the first of two 800-megawatt generating units at Prairie State begin operations — six months late — the plant hardly seems the bargain it did five years ago.

    The $5 billion price tag is 25 percent more than when the city signed on, driving up the price of electricity that Kirkwood and other cities are obligated to buy. And construction delays mean the city is getting nothing for the monthly $296,000 checks it began writing to Prairie State’s owners in February.

    Because ALEC peddles copycat laws that benefit dirty and expensive coal projects while attacking clean energy incentives, renewable energy interests like the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association have abandoned ALEC.

    History of ALEC's Adoption of the Intrastate Coal and Use Act:

    An ALEC legislator in West Virginia named Gary Howell introduced a version of the Intrastate Coal and Use Act back in 2011; his bill inspired the current model bill that ALEC is distributing. Delegate Howell suggested that all of the top 20 coal producing states consider his legislation, indicating where watchdogs should keep their eyes peeled for ALEC's model legislation.

    While the bills weren't passed in 2011, West Virginia is again considering the Intrastate Coal and Use Act in the 2013 session, renewing their attempts to keep the EPA from overseeing permits to burn coal from mountain top removal.

    Another version of the Intrastate Coal and Use Act has surfaced in Kentucky.

    In fact, it was the Kentucky-based Bluegrass Institute that sponsored ALEC's Intrastate Coal and Use Act within ALEC's anti-environmental task force, apparently based off of what WV Del. Howell has been introducing into his own legislature. Like ALEC, the Bluegrass Institute is a member of the State Policy Network, an umbrella organization for state and national think tanks and interest groups that are usually funded by the Koch brothers and company.

    Coal's Broken Promises: Not Cheap, Not Clean

    A 2005 Peabody company newsletter shows that PSEC was supposed to cost $2 billion, less than half its actual price. The cost estimate was later doubled to $4 billion before reaching its actual $5 billion price tag. According to a 2012 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:

    Instead of being a source of low cost electricity, the first year cost of power from Prairie State is 40 to 100 percent higher than the current cost of power in the Midwest wholesale markets and is expected to remain higher than market prices for the next ten to thirteen years, if not longer.

    The Campus proposal was supported by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption charges), who publicly supported construction of the plant and ate up Peabody's false promises of cheap energy. In Big Coal, author and journalist Jeff Goodell notes that Peabody's desire to build its own coal plant was to help burn its own reserves of high-sulfur coal from Illinois, which the market did not have much of an appetite for. A representative of the Illinois Office of Coal Development told Goodell, "Most power plants are built in order to generate electricity. Prairie State was really conceived more as a platform to burn Peabody coal." While Peabody sold all but 5% of its stake in PSEC to eight nonprofit power companies, it has been the driving force behind the Campus since 2001.

    Goodell noted that even with its highly-touted pollution control equipment, PSEC is still a dirty coal plant. It still emits hazardous particulates, acidic gasses and heavy metals. It still dumps immense amounts of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, the key greenhouse gas that is contributing to global climate change:

    "Prairie State will emit more than 11 million tons [of carbon dioxide] a year, marginally less than a similar size coal plant built thirty years ago, but more than twice as much as every vehicle sold by the Ford Motor Company in a single year."

    Illinois' bind demonstrates the lose-lose situation promoted by the coal industry: drink and breathe our pollution now, and pay more...now and later.

    As clean energy becomes increasingly viable, even without considering the costs of fossil fuel pollution and climate change, some cities are taking matters into their own hands, including [the ironically-named] Carbondale Illinois, which recently established that 100% of its power will come from clean energy. Cincinnati, Ohio dumped Duke Energy and made a similar commitment, as have all municipal facilities in Austin, Texas.

    But clean energy advocates be warned: the more the American public recognizes that 19th Century energy like coal is a thing of the past, the more the dirty energy industries are going to spend big to desperately defend their bottom lines.

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    Wind Group Dumps ALEC, Duke Energy Continues Contradicting Itself with ALEC Membership

    • Posted on: 30 January 2013
    • By: Connor Gibson

    Image: Checks & Balances Project - ALEC Attacks Clean Energy Standards: Ohio & Virginia

    An article in Greenwire today revealed a few interesting things about the American Legislative Exchange Council's attacks on state clean energy laws through its "Electricity Freedom Act."

    First, ALEC was recently abandoned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) due to ALEC's efforts to repeal state renewable portfolio standards--laws that ensure a growing percentage of electricity comes from clean energy. AWEA joins over 45 companies and organizations that have dropped ALEC due to its support for voter legislation, Stand Your Ground and other NRA gun laws, climate science denial, racial profiling laws, and other measures against the public interest.

    Not only did AWEA leave ALEC, but they're warning other ALEC affiliates about their steadfast opposition to clean energy (which ALEC denies--see below):

    Now, AWEA is warning state lawmakers not to be taken in by ALEC's message, one that [Peter] Kelley said is driven by fossil fuel companies. He pointed out that conservative think tank and climate skeptic Heartland Institute told The Washington Post last year that it had joined ALEC to write language to revise state renewable energy mandates in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

    "We want to warn our former fellow members of ALEC about that misinformation because we won't be around to protect them," he said.

    Greenwire notes contradictory statements from coal polluter Duke Energy, which betrayed its own past support for North Carolina's clean energy standard, the law that ALEC's Rep. Mike Hager is targeting:

    Duke Energy, a member of ALEC and large player in North Carolina, is trying to sidestep the debate.

    Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni said the utility hasn't taken a formal position on the bill, and the decision to implement or repeal renewable portfolio standards should be "state specific."

    "Though we're a member of ALEC, we don't always agree with every issue that the organization or any other organization of which we're a member takes," he said, adding that Duke is a member of a wide array of liberal and conservative groups.

    But a spokesman for Duke told the Charlotte Business Journal last May that the utility indeed opposes Hager's bill and helped craft North Carolina's RPS. Duke also opposes ALEC's position to curb U.S. EPA's ability to regulate carbon emissions and coal ash storage and set standards for mercury emissions, the spokesman said.

    But wait! Not only does Duke Energy still pay ALEC, but Duke is member to the "Electric Reliability Coordinating Council," A.K.A. coal lobbyists from Bracewell & Giuliani paid by Duke and others to block EPA rules on mercury pollution from power plants. Duke and Progress Energy ranked 12th and 22nd respectively of the top 25 mercury polluters in 2011 before they merged last year.

    Meanwhile, Duke Energy lobbyists like Bill Tyndall have worked on blocking effective controls for coal ash, which contains neurotoxins, carcinogens and radioactive elements. Duke has a coal ash pollution monopoly in North Carolina, with tests confirming they are contaminating groundwater near their storage sites. Duke's opposition to coal ash regulations is also inherent in their membership with yet another front group, the American Coal Ash Association.

    So maybe Duke Energy doesn't support ALEC's opposition to reducing mercury and coal ash pollution, they just support other groups willing to do those things for them.

    Finally, ALEC's Todd Wynn is either dishonest or has a short memory.

    In the Greenwire article, Todd Wynn was trying to make the point that ALEC legislators, not the corporate interests funding ALEC and driving its agenda, are taking the reins on repealing renewable energy. Greenwire quotes Wynn, emphasis added:

    "Members are driving the debate. ... Our state legislators have taken up the torch on these issues," he said. "But ALEC itself isn't driving an energy mandate repeal campaign."

    To that point, Todd Wynn fully contradicts himself--check out his own blog on the clean energy attacks, titled "ALEC to States: Repeal Renewable Energy Mandates." 

    It's also ridiculous for Wynn to assert that ALEC legislators have "taken up the torch" on repealing clean energy laws--ALEC's model was written by climate science deniers at the Heartland Institute, not state legislators.

    Mr. Wynn's job is to keep this debate centered around debunked economic arguments that obscure the ideological corporate agenda he is paid to advance. As an operative of the Koch-funded State Policy Network, an aversion to reality is a necessary component of his resume. Wynn previously worked for a SPN member group called the Cascades Policy Institute promoting climate science denial.

    Todd Wynn says that ALEC isn't against clean energy, just against government favoring one energy industry over another. Yet ALEC has done nothing to repeal subsidies to the oil and coal industries, or loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, or any other comparable measure to their attacks on clean energy. That's because ALEC's anti-environmental legislation is supported and even written by ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Duke Energy, and other major polluters.

    No wonder groups like AWEA and the Solar Energy Industries Association abandoned ALEC shortly after joining. ALEC's polluter agenda is already set, backed by dirty money, and not open for discussion.

    The full article can be found in Greenwire, E&E Publishing: Wind, solar groups quit ALEC as conservative powerhouse targets clean-power programs 

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    Duke Energy and ALEC Attack North Carolina Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard

    • Posted on: 15 January 2013
    • By: Connor Gibson

    NC Rep. Mike Hager: ALEC member and former Duke Energy employee.

    Corporate polluters are taking aim this year at states with renewable energy laws, starting with an attack on North Carolina's clean energy economy by a corporate front group known as ALEC with support from Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries. North Carolina state Representative Mike Hager says he is confident that he has the votes needed to weaken or undo his state's clean energy requirements during his second term. Rep. Hager is a former Duke Energy engineer and a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Duke and Progress Energy (now legally merged) have given Rep. Hager $14,500 for his last two election bids, outspent only by the NC Republican Party.

    This is where ALEC makes things awkward for Duke Energy: the law that Rep. Mike Hager is targeting (2007 SB3) was created with input from Duke Energy, and Duke explicitly opposes ALEC's "Electricity Freedom Act," the model law to repeal state Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (REPS). Duke Energy re-asserted its support for North Carolina's REPS law to the Charlotte Business Journal last April and Progress Energy publicly supported the law before merging with Duke.

    Apparently, Duke forgot about supporting North Carolina's clean energy incentives somewhere along the way. Duke Energy remains a paying member of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    Duke Energy and outgoing CEO Jim Rogers have dismissed over 150,000 concerned citizens demanding that Duke leave ALEC due to its role in protecting polluters, suppressing voters, increasing gun violence and other serious threats to the public on behalf of ExxonMobil, the National Rifle Association, Reynolds tobacco and other corporate interests with a rich history of negligence and dishonesty.

    ALEC: The Polluter's Voice

    The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) creates model state laws rolling back protections on our health, our clean air and water, public safety, public education…public anything, really. State legislators that support a corporate ideology pay a small fee to become ALEC members, working alongside giant companies to create models bills that are then introduced in states across the country.

    In contrast to Duke Energy's "Call to Action" supporting climate legislation and clean energy development, it has not abandoned ALEC's long record of denying climate science and blocking solutions to global warming. ALEC focuses this year on undoing state laws that increase production of clean energy like wind and solar power.

    ALEC's Electricity Freedom Act model bill was written by the Heartland Institute, a shill group made infamous for comparing those who recognize climate scientists to terrorists like Ted Kaczynski.

    This dirty ambition is ALEC's self-stated priority on energy issues this year--repealing state laws that created Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (REPS), including North Carolina's SB3. Todd Wynn, a corporate influence peddler who heads ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force, named North Carolina as one of several states ALEC will focus its clean energy attacks, citing a debunked report from the Koch-funded Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University's economics department. Like ALEC, Beacon Hill is part of the Koch-funded State Policy Network. See the Morning Sentinel and a scathing Portland Press Herald editorial for important critiques of the Koch-funded Beacon Hill reports cited by Todd Wynn.

    Actually...Clean Energy has Treated North Carolina's Economy Well!

    We've known for decades that phasing out fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) and ambitiously implementing clean energy not only slows our sprint toward irreversible, catastrophic climate change, but stimulates the economy and creates jobs that do not poison us. In North Carolina, SB3 has helped create the current 15,200 full-time equivalent clean energy jobs in NC, up 3% from the previous year, and generated $3.7 billion in economic activity in 2012 (North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association 2012 Industry Census).

    While ALEC has touted a pile of Koch-funded reports written with the pre-determined conclusion that clean energy is ALWAYS too pricey, the Charlotte Business Journal reports that SB3 has a "negligible impact on customer bill increases" for Progress Energy Carolinas' customers, at about 41 cents per month.

    If let be, North Carolina's Senate Bill 3 would ensure at least 3% of North Carolina's energy is from renewable sources this year, increasing to at least 12.5% by 2021. North Carolina appears to be one of the first states subjected to ALEC's dirty energy agenda this year.

    What Next for the ALEC Attacks?

    Expect similar ALEC attacks on clean energy laws in states around the country. According to its own documents, ALEC spent the last couple years monitoring states attempting to introduce state-level renewable energy portfolio standards in West Virginia, Vermont and Virginia as well as legislative attacks on REPS laws in New Hampshire and in Ohio (by Sen. Kris Jordan, an ALEC member).

    Now with rumors of war appearing in North Carolina, it appears that ALEC has morphed from the opportunistic observer to the coordinator of attacks on our states' clean energy laws.

    For more on how the American Legislative Exchange Council is degrading public policies across the United States, see ALECExposed.org.

    This piece was crossposted on Greenpeace blogs.

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    Climate-denying Indiana Regulator helps ALEC Coal Companies Delay EPA Climate Rules

    • Posted on: 13 December 2012
    • By: Connor Gibson

    Click here to see the contents of the ACCCE USB drive from ALEC's 2012 States & Nation Policy summit.

    You're probably familiar with the old "fox in the hen house" story, but what about when a hen joins the fox den?

    This is the case with the recent American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Washington, DC. Leaked documents obtained by Greenpeace reveal that ALEC's anti-environmental jamboree was inundated with coal money and featured an Indiana regulator advising coal utilities on delaying US Environmental Protection Agency rules to control greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous air pollution.

    At ALEC's coal-sponsored meeting, where state legislators and corporate representatives meet to create template state laws ranging from attacks on clean energy to privatization of public schools, Indiana's Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Management Tom Easterly laid out a plan to stall the US EPA global warming action in a power point clearly addressed to coal industry representatives at ALEC's meeting.

    In a USB drive branded with the logo of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a folder labeled "Easterly" contains a presentation titled "Easterly ALEC presentation 11 28 12" explaining current EPA air pollution rules and how Tom Easterly has worked to obstruct them. The power points is branded with the Indiana Department of Environmental Protection seal. In the latter presentation, Easterly ended his briefing to ALEC's dirty energy members with suggestions for delaying EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions at coal plants.

    Easterly's presentation, which is posted on his Indiana Dept. of Environmental Mgmt commissioner webpage, even offered a template state resolution that would burden EPA with conducting a number of unnecessary cost benefit analyses (which the federal government has done through the Social Cost of Carbon analysis) in the process of controlling GHG emissions.

     

     

     

    The template resolution Easterly presented to ALEC was created by the Environmental Council of States (ECOS), a group of state regulators that create template state resolutions similar to ALEC, often with overlapping agendas that benefit coal companies. ECOS has some questionable template state resolutions for an "Environmental" organization, including a resolution urging EPA not to classify coal ash as "hazardous." Although its less regulated than household trash, coal ash contains neurotoxins, carcinogens and radioactive elements and is stored in dangerous slurry "ponds" that can leak these dangerous toxins into our waterways.

    Almost too predictably, ECOS' work is sponsored by the coal fronts like ACCCE and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), both sponsors of the ALEC meeting where Easterly presented the ECOS model resolution. See clean air watchdog Frank O'Donnell's blog on ECOS for more.

    Easterly's work, including his presentation to ALEC, is also promoted by the Midwest Ozone Group, a group whose members include ACCCE, American Electric Power and Duke Energy.

    Commissioner Tom Easterly's suggestion of burdening EPA with tasks beyond its responsibility is concerning, as is his ongoing campaign to discredit the science of global warming--something he doesn't have the scientific qualifications to do. To this end, the Indiana regulator fits nicely into the coal industry's long history of denying problems they don't want to be held accountable for and delaying solutions to those problems. The same processes applied to acid rain, a problem the coal industry also denied for years--check out Greenpeace's collection of Coal Ads: Decades of Deception.

    Climate Science Denial at Indiana's Department of Environmental Management

    Even before Indiana's top enforcer of federal and state environmental regulations was advising coal companies on how to continuing polluting our air and water, it appears that denial of basic climate science is the state's official position on global warming--Indiana's 2011 "State of the Environment" report rehashes tired climate denier arguments such as global temperature records having "no appreciable change since about 1998." (see why this is a lie) and referencing the "medieval warm period" as false proof that current temperature anomalies are normal (they aren't, see Skeptical Science for a proper debunking). Similar arguments have apparently been presented by the Indiana government to ALEC since 2008--the ACCCE USB drive contains another Indiana power point created in 2008 full of junk climate "science." This level of scientific illiteracy is concerning, especially for the regulatory body responsible for overseeing pollution controls for the coal industry.

    Remember, this isn't the Heartland Institute. It's the State of Indiana....working with the Heartland Institute, a member of ALEC's anti-environmental task force that has been central in coordinating campaigns to deny global warming. See Commissioner Easterly's full presentation to ALEC on climate "science."

    ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit 2012: brought to you by King Coal

    ALEC's brochure for last week's meeting shows a disproportionately large presence of coal sponsors. The brochure lists 14 sponsors, five of which are coal interests:

    • American Electric Power (AEP): the second largest coal utility in the U.S. now that Duke Energy and Progress Energy have merged.
      • Political spending since 2007: AEP has spent over $46.2 million on federal lobbying and $3.9 million on federal politicians and political committees.
    • Peabody Energy: the world's largest private-sector coal mining company, known for its legacy of pollution and aggressive finance of climate change denial.
      • Political spending since 2007: Peabody has spent over $37.9 million on federal lobbying and $690,769 on federal politicians and political committees.
    • American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE): a coal public relations front whose members include AEP, Peabody and other ALEC-member coal interests. ACCCE's new president is Mike Duncan, former Republican National Committee chairman and founding chairman of Karl Rove's American Crossroads. ACCCE spent over $12 million on advertising during the 2012 election to promote the fantasy of "clean coal." ACCCE reportedly spent $40 million on TV and radio ads during the 2008 election and over $16 million around the 2010 election. ACCCE was caught up in a scandal when a subcontractor forged letters on behalf of senior and civil rights groups urging members of Congress to oppose national climate legislation. For more, see ACCCE on PolluterWatch.
    • Edison Electric Institute (EEI): the primary trade association for electric utility companies, whose members include AEP, Duke Energy and numerous other members of ALEC's energy/environment task force.
      • Political spending since 2007: EEI has spent over $63.7 million on federal lobbying and over $2.1 million on federal politicians and political committees.

    $15.3 million: total federal politicians and committees spending from these groups since 2007

    $194 million: total federal lobbying expenditures from these groups since 2007

    The collective millions spent on federal lobbying and politicians went a long way for these five coal interest groups. Their lobbying goals included weakening 2009 climate legislation and working to interfere with US EPA rules to reduce coal pollution or greenhouse gases.

    All five of these groups have recently lobbied to prevent US EPA from controlling greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. These five interests only represent a slice of the coal interests spending money in politics, and just a few players among many in the coal, oil, gas and chemical industries that dump millions of dollars into public relations campaigns telling us that climate change is not a problem.

     
     
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