"It is almost certain that most of these will be approved for another year," said Curt Beaulieu, a tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee who recently joined the Washington office of Bracewell & Giuliani.
In addition to the AFP federal effort, which is expected to continue through the lame duck session of Congress, state legislators will be pressed by AFP, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other conservative groups to repeal state renewable energy mandates. Koch Industries has gone on the record opposing all such programs.
Philip Ellender, president and chief operating officer of Koch Companies Public Sector, said last week that the company continues to oppose state and federal subsidies — for any industry. “Consistent with Koch’s longstanding opposition to all types of corporate welfare, including subsidies and mandates, we oppose state-level renewable portfolio standards,“ he said in an e-mail statement to The Post.
So far, however, such efforts have been unsuccessful in most states. Of 18 states that considered model ALEC bills to roll back requirements to bring wind, solar and other renewable energy online, only one has acted. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a bill earlier this year that would shelve requirements for utilities to boost the use of renewable energy sources.
ALEC's success in Ohio and in getting similar legislation introduced in other states has inspired Democratic Party donors to support a new state-focused organization called the State Innovation Exchange, or SiX. The goal is to eventually raise $10 million a year to boost progressive state lawmakers and their causes -- partly by drafting model legislation in state capitols to support and expand environmental protection efforts.
In addition, environmental groups and their allies are still working to discredit ALEC, which recently concluded its winter policy meeting in Washington. The organization, under new leadership, has dropped some of its most controversial initiatives on crime and other topics, and it has become more transparent and open, with reporters invited to some previously closed sessions. Still, environmental, religious and labor groups sent letters last week to thousands of state legislators warning them to steer clear of ALEC and its agenda. "ALEC is a polluter-funded group that increasingly tries to obscure the purposes and impact of legislation it is peddling," the letter states.
In a related move, more than 200 companies wrote congressional leaders announcing support for EPA's proposed carbon standard for electric power plants. The signers included executives from Kellogg's, Levi Strauss, Nestle and Ikea, who were organized by Ceres, a group of investors and activists promoting environmentally sustainable business practices.
Those letters offset larger campaigns against the EPA rules led by the National Association of Manufacturers and other business and energy trade associations that have criticized the carbon and ozone rules as impractical, expensive and damaging to the economy.
Dave Hamilton, the Sierra Club official in charge of global warming and energy policy, is galled by the complaints against wind and solar subsidies when much larger tax breaks are imbedded in the tax code for petroleum. In the long term, he said, the appeal of renewable energy will win against well-funded fossil fuel lobbyists. But in the short run the debate will be fierce.