Archive for Friday, December 6, 2013

Francisco, others warn about attempts to change state’s renewable energy standard

December 6, 2013


From left to right, Rabbi Moti Rieber, of Overland Park, state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Wayne White, a Jefferson County farmer, appear during a news conference Friday in the Statehouse on environmental issues.

From left to right, Rabbi Moti Rieber, of Overland Park, state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Wayne White, a Jefferson County farmer, appear during a news conference Friday in the Statehouse on environmental issues.

— A Lawrence legislator, an area farmer and a religious leader spoke on Friday against legislation that they said denies climate change and is being pushed in Kansas and elsewhere by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

"Our climate is changing and we need Kansas solutions to address it," said state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence.

Francisco, Wayne White, a Jefferson County farmer, sociologist and author, and Rabbi Moti Rieber, of Overland Park, held a news conference in the Statehouse about legislation that will be debated when the 2014 legislative session starts next month.

"The policies that the corporate interests behind ALEC are pursuing will leave scars on our planet and its inhabitants that we will never be able to undo — all for the benefit of their own bottom lines," said Rieber, who is state director of Interfaith Power & Light, a group of religious leaders who focus on environmental issues.

ALEC describes itself as a non-partisan organization that supports free markets and limited government. The group is an influential corporate-funded group that pairs up legislators and industry leaders to propose legislation in states nationwide.

In Kansas, approximately 48 legislators, all Republicans, are ALEC members and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, and Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, have served as high-ranking officials with the association.

ALEC measures that have been approved recently by the Kansas Legislature include requiring a photo ID to vote, a resolution denouncing the Environmental Protection Agency as a "regulatory trainwreck" and a bill that sought to exempt state residents from the Affordable Care Act.

One of the major battles next year will be over attempts to repeal the state's renewable energy standard.

The standard, adopted in 2009, provides that Kansans are to receive 10 percent of their electricity from renewable resources, such as wind and solar, between 2011 and 2015; 15 percent between 2016 and 2019; and 20 percent by 2020.

Last year, bills were considered to either delay the percentage goals or repeal them. The bills didn't pass but are expected to come up again.

ALEC officials have said the renewable energy standard foists higher-cost electricity onto consumers. But supporters of the renewable standard say it helps the environment and brings wind energy jobs to the state.


Clark Coan 4 years, 6 months ago

If legislation weakening the standard passes, there's a good chance Brownback will veto it as he supports wind power expansion in the Sunflower State.

Bob Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

In other news, the current regime is giving wind energy companies free reign to kill eagles for the next 30 years. Very symbolic, don't you think?

Brad Greenwood 4 years, 6 months ago

Just how many eagles have been killed by wind turbines to date? Just wondering...

Phil Minkin 4 years, 6 months ago

How many people has Sam Brownback murdered? Just wondering... Now we're both guilty of baseless innuendo.

Brad Greenwood 4 years, 6 months ago

Oh, I don't know... I was asking for evidence to back up a previous comment. Evidence, as in the exact opposite of innuendo. So you'll excuse me if I don't plead "guilty" to your "baseless" charge.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 6 months ago

Journal of Raptor Research has records of 67 eagles killed by wind turbines in 5 years, not including some dangerous areas of California where up to 60 eagles/year have been reported some years.

To put that in perspective, the state of Michigan alone reported that 222 eagles were killed by cars between 2004 and 2010 (6 years):

So I guess our motor vehicle licenses are also licenses to kill eagles? Such silly arguments dominate our national discussions. Both sources of eagle mortality should be looked at to find ways to reduce the risk, such as cleaning up roadside carrion and shutting down turbines in when large scale eagle migration is occurring, but most of the time these points are brought up as information Molotov cocktails, not in the least for the purposes of finding solutions.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 6 months ago

ALEC and the Koch brothers are the biggest source of corruption we have in the United States.

Bob Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

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Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 6 months ago

ALEC Official Calls Solar Users ‘Freeriders’ at December Summit

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) December summit began this week, and the organization’s anti-renewable energy resolution has been a major focus.

Backed by fossil fuel titans like Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil, ALEC has been trying all year to roll back renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in states across the country with little success. At most, bills were introduced in states where the primary sponsor has ties to ALEC, such as Ohio, where Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) has been pushing a bill that originally sought to rescind standards established five years ago, including powering 25 percent of the state with renewables by 2025.

In addition to figuring out how to win back corporate sponsors following the controversial backing of Stand Your Ground gun laws, ALEC’s December agenda includes further discussion on its resolution, which could possibly kill net metering and/or impose a fee on solar users like Arizona did last month.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 6 months ago

Wind Tax Credit Labeled ‘Welfare’ by Koch-Funded Groups

Now, IER is a conservative group, it receives some of its funding from the Koch brothers, and has a long history of pushing fossil fuel interests. At the end of the paper, IER declares that federal wind subsidies “create an unfair redistribution of wealth across state lines that enriches wind companies in select “net taker” states at the expense of taxpayers in other states,” and that “even in states that seem to accrue net ‘benefits’ from federal wind subsidies, these subsidies merely redistribute wealth from taxpayers to wind energy companies.” The American Energy Alliance—IER’s sister organization—took up the cry, promoting the study under the headline “End the Wind Welfare!” And the conservative Washington Examiner ran an ad along the same lines Monday morning.

But one funny consequence of its analysis IER doesn’t mention is that—with the exception of the southeastern states—the “net payers” on its map roughly line up with the blue states in the 2012 election. The top four net payers —California, New York, Florida, and New Jersey—all went blue, suggesting their constituencies are more inclined to support efforts like the PTC to combat global warming and to support renewable energy. Meanwhile, three of the top four net takers—Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota—went red, implying they oppose precisely the kind of government intervention they benefit from.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 6 months ago

What kind of crazy anti-environment bills is ALEC pushing now?

The American Legislative Exchange Council may be hemorrhaging members and grappling with a funding crisis, but that hasn’t hampered its ambitions. In 2013, the conservative outfit, which specializes in generating state-level legislation, launched a multi-front jihad on green energy, with more than 77 ALEC-backed energy bills cropping up in state legislature. Among the most prominent were measures to repeal renewable energy standards and block meaningful disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. Most of these bills failed. But as state lawmakers and corporate representatives gather in Washington this week for the group’s three-day policy summit, ALEC is pushing ahead with a new package of energy and environmental bills that will benefit Big Energy and polluters.

On Wednesday, The Guardian reported some details of ALEC’s anti-green-energy offensive and its new policy roadmap, which began taking shape at an August gathering of the group’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force in Chicago. The newspaper focused largely on ALEC’s efforts to undermine net-metering policies, which allow private citizens to sell excess power from rooftop solar panels to utilities. (“As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially free riders on the system,” John Eick, an ALEC legislative analyst, told the Guardian.) But the group’s energy task force – which includes as members fossil fuel interests, such as Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil — will also be peddling other pro-corporate state initiatives, some with far-reaching implications. Below is a roundup:

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

One wind farm was recently fined for killing eagles.

It was mentioned about cars killing eagles. This was just a straw man argument to deflect from the true issue. Wind farms by their design kill eagles and other protected and non-protected birds.

The same people that are supporting Obama giving wind farms a pass to continue to destroy wildlife are the very same ones that would be up in arms if Bush gave the coal or oil industry a pass to kill Eagles.

Right and wrong shouldn't depend on party politics. An issue should stand on its own merits and allowing an industry to systematically, even if unintentional, to slaughter protected species is wrong.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 6 months ago

How is the fact that far more eagles are killed by cars than windmills a "straw man" argument that belies the main issue? What is the main issue if it is not the number of eagles (and other birds, for that matter) killed?

And what do you mean that wind farms "by their design" kill eagles? That makes as much sense as saying that cars, by their design, kill eagles, too. Why aren't cars designed to automatically shut off whenever an eagle is closer than 100 yards? Such a silly argument, no?

Last time I checked, Brownback was a strong supporter of wind energy production in our state, as were the previous governors from both parties. It is people like you and Rep. Pompeo who seem to be receiving marching orders to politicize the issue instead of looking for ways to address legitimate concerns over the safety of the technology so that we can look to reduce our carbon footprint.

And if your concern about industries who unintentionally slaughter eagles is troubling you too much, then I'm happy to have you drop off your car keys any time.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

Ken, so much anger exudes from your post. Chill and discuss issues.

Wind farms are spread out over a large area and their blades are at an elevation where birds fly. Their blades move t high speeds so yes, their design kills birds.

Yes cars kill eagles, but it was offered as a way to suggest that since one man made object kills eagle we should excuse anything else am made that kills them.

By your logic since cars and windmills kill eagles we should not regulate other industries that kill eagles too.

Yes, I am concerned about the destruction of wildlife. It is not just eagles that are being killed but bats too.

I don't accept something as right because Brownback supports it. I think for myself.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 6 months ago

I was pointing out the logical shortcomings of the arguments that you presented, and no anger was intended, so apologize if you read that into my reply.. Email is potentially such an inflammatory medium because no voice inflection or visual cues are present, leading to frequent misunderstandings.

I did not bring up cars as an excuse to let windmills off the hook. I brought them up because they represent a much bigger threat to eagles being killed than wind turbines ever will. Furthermore, I'm supportive of siting windmills in ways that minimize threats to resident and migratory birds, just as I am in favor of taking any reasonable precautions to minimize the bigger threat cars pose to eagles and other birds. Framing the issue of providing permits to wind turbines as one of giving a free pass to slaughter eagles is both sensationalizing and inaccurate.

And alas, the bat populations in the northeast US are being decimated by the white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has mortalities of upwards of 95%, so if you are concerned about bats, I hope you support the $950,000 awarded by US Fish and Wildlife to 28 states to monitor and fight this disease with no apparent cure. It's knocking on our door and may be wiping out our local colonies soon.

And I'm glad you can think for yourself and if you check out the "eagle slaughter" PR campaign, you'll see that it is being very carefully orchestrated and trotted out strategically at a time when wind tax credits are up for renewal. It's not hard to connect the dots on this one.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

Ken - appreciate the comments about email being a poor medium. I agree and even wanted to go back and edit my last post but I couldn't. After re-reading it, I realized it was inflammatory. So I am glad you responded in a polite manner.

You raise good points.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Knowing more about the enemies to public education, the working class and our communities is important.

ALEC may be under investigation as we speak for allegations regarding violation of tax exempt status which is a form of tax evasion.

Unfortunately ALEC and a large majority of the republican party got married to the idea that working class blue and white collars make too much money. Talk about living in glass houses. Right to Work means lower wages.

ALEC and Repubs Busting unions is about YOU working for less money Union or NOT = monster corporate profits!!.

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that.

Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights.

These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.

In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?

United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures

ALEC EXPOSED – The Koch Connection

ALEC – Ghostwriting The Law for Corporate America


ALEC Private Schools - Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

Bob Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

The role of ALEC in the Permian Extinction has never been fully investigated!

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Where Did The GOP go? It died at the hands of John Birch,Pete Peterson,Extreme Fundamentalists,Ze family money etc etc etc

What is the GOP? The GOP experienced a coup about 33 years ago at the hands of John Birch Society - ALEC - Anti Americans - The Tea Party = it's all four.

John Birch Society Celebrates Koch Family For Their Role In Founding The Hate Group

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

I say among the best sources of information regarding air pollution which brings global warming which brings climate change is the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club. They say Climate Change is here now.

We cannot listen to corprate polluters and their politicians/puppets. Politicans from both sides of the aisle accept too much money from polluters. Both are detrimental to the world’s well being. These politicians no matter which side of the aisle need to go bye bye. Union of Concerned Scientists is a crediable source.



All of us contribute to Global/Warming/Climate Change somehow therefore all of us must reduce our impacts. Reduction is the key.

There is much we can do to protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations from the consequences of the heat-trapping emissions caused when we burn coal, oil, and gas to generate electricity, drive our cars, and fuel our businesses.

Our country is at a crossroads: the United States can act responsibly and seize the opportunity to lead by developing new, innovative solutions, as well as immediately putting to use the many practical solutions we have at our disposal today; or we can choose to do nothing and deal with severe consequences later.

At UCS we believe the choice is clear. It is time to push forward toward a brighter, cleaner future.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

I say among the best sources of information regarding air pollution which brings global warming which brings climate change is the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club. They say Climate Change is here now.

Richard, at what point in the history of the earth wasn't there climate change? How did we enter a nice age and come back out of it without climate change?

The real point is what are man's contributions to it that cause harm and destruction to our environment? The direct correlation between man's actions and the climate change resulting from it must first be proven. And then it must be scientifically proven that the solution is actually a scientific solution and not a political feel good one.

Whether one believes in climate change or not, we should conserve and protect our planet. Some solutions like not polluting our land and water are no-brainers but other solutions are costly and have not be proven to work.

For example, the ethanol mandate sounds good, but is it really stopping climate change. We've taken land out of conservation to grow more corn for ethanol that besides providing habitat for wildlife served as a barrier to chemical runoff. What are the energy costs associated with growing more corn not just in dollars, but in the environmental costs of more co2 emissions, higher water usage, more fertilizer usage that also requires energy to make.

We need to protect our planet, but we need science to drive it, not politics.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

We are the cause. We are overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which traps heat and steadily drives up the planet’s temperature. Where does all this carbon come from? The fossil fuels we burn for energy — coal, natural gas, and oil — plus the loss of forests due to deforestation, especially in the tropics.

The scientific evidence is clear. Within the scientific community, there is no debate: An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that human activity is the primary cause.

This broad consensus — and the extensive scientific evidence that supports it — is often downplayed or distorted by a small but vocal minority of special interests that have a vested interest in delaying action on climate change.

Union of Concerned Scientists Sierra Club

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Climate Change is Biggest Threat, Says Top Navy Commander in Pacific and director of Task Force Climate Change. He was pretty forthright then about the giant issues facing the Navy ... that global climate change is likely to be our biggest security threat in the region. ... attention—and giving far more than lip service—to the problems underway from a changing climate.

Watch Live: How the US Navy Is Leading the Charge on Clean Energy and Climate Change Dr. David W. Titley , retired naval officer who led the US Navys Task Force on Climate Change ... the charge towards clean energy—which is big news for national security and even climate change. Through ... oil, the Navy is poised to change the way the US military sails, flies, marches etc etc etc.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 6 months ago

Of coursethe republicans will oppose this. The republicans in Kansas and elsewhere hate the black prosident and his party. Any scientific data regarding climate change is wrong because republican religious right wingers hate science because it reveals the fraud of their religious famtsies.

Climate change is real and hazardous, regardless of what Rush Limbaugh, the klan, the American nazis and other facists have to say.

Ted Morehouse 4 years, 6 months ago

I love the Richard Heckler spam, does he copy paste that stuff to every story?

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes he does. he Ives to spam. Can't speak for others but I just scroll pass his non relevant spam without reading.

Beator 4 years, 6 months ago

I wonder why he is allowed to constantly make ideological liberal spam rants, while others exhibiting critical thinking, with complex opposing views, are deleted from posting?

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