Make no doubt about it. ALEC is in it for the long term to push its agenda for the bills that are introduced into state’s legislatures each year. It’s efforts in the energy and environment area are just as potent as the bills which target education and workers’ rights and conditions.
ALEC has put a significant effort over the past three years into trying to stop the federal government tackle carbon emissions. Some of their ‘model bills’ have targeted the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP was set up with the objective of ensuring states met certain carbon emissions reductions targets. It was to work in unison with the goals of the Paris Climate Change Conference to reduce emissions and diminish the effects of climate change.
Since its inception ALEC has also been pushing for its members to persuade state Attorney Generals to litigate against the CPP. 29 states, including Oklahoma, have now filed suit in the federal court. At this time the Supreme Court has issued a stay to stop implementation of the CPP until the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit makes a final judgment on its legality. The hearing is scheduled for September. The effect of the Supreme Court stay is that requirements for states to submit a compliance plan or request an extension are also now on hold. States such as Kansas and Missouri have already drafted legislation to block any future reduction plans as specified under the CPP. These attempts are clearly consistent with the will of ALEC.
Oklahoma introduced Senate Bill 1379 in this year’s legislative session to “prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality and the Board of Environmental Quality from developing or adopting a state plan, without authorization by the attorney general or a court, in addition to the governor.”. The bill is currently pending awaiting the court’s ruling later this year.
Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt spoke in late May before the House subcommittee on the environment in Washington D.C. A Democratic Congressman on the panel with concerns about the state’s impartiality has submitted a request to Pruitt’s office and the Department of Environmental Quality under Oklahoma’s open records act. The request targets any correspondence over the past year referring to the CPP and Pruitt’s testimony to the subcommittee, a part of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The Congressman’s concern is that Pruitt’s Office has been representing the work product of some organizations in Oklahoma with vested interests in the demise of the CPP as its own views.