ALEC Rejects Climate Action Resolution

Published September 4, 2019

A task force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) rejected a proposed resolution calling for the “pursuit of American Clean Energy Policy” at ALEC’s 2019 Annual Meeting.

Some non-legislator members of ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture (EEA) task force offered a model resolution titled “Resolution Supporting Freedom in Energy Policy,” purportedly designed to “position the United States as a global leader in clean energy.”

The sponsors were attempting to gain conservative legislators’ support for action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to fight climate change.

Promoting ‘American Clean Energy’

The resolution lauded the growth in wind and solar energy and electric vehicle production in the United States, which has been driven almost entirely by government subsidies and state renewable energy mandates. It went on to call for “The pursuit of American Clean Energy … [that] achieve[s] further emissions reductions” and for laws and policies to “position the United States as a global leader in clean energy, driving global investment in American-made clean energy technologies” and “to invest in, procure, and implement clean energy technologies; and take voluntary measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Concerned that government promotion of so-called clean energy ultimately means limiting the use of abundant, relatively inexpensive, domestic supplies of coal, oil, and even natural gas, because they all emit carbon dioxide as a byproduct of combustion, not a single ALEC legislator voiced support for the proposed resolution in deliberations leading up to a proposed vote.

No public policy organizations in attendance voiced support for the resolution, either.

With no support among legislators or policy analysts, the EEA chair tabled the resolution.

Sees False Narrative

The resolution offered at the meeting did not present a free-market alternative to the Green New Deal, says Research Fellow Bette Grande, who represented The Heartland Institute at the ALEC meetings, held August 14 through August 16 in Austin, Texas.

“Claiming some restrictions on energy choices and energy affordability are ‘free market’ because they are not quite as extreme or restrictive as the Green New Deal is like claiming Obamacare is ‘free market’ because it is not quite as extreme or restrictive as single-payer government-run healthcare,” Grande said. “Some proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions may be worse than others, but they are all big-government, expensive, anti-conservative restrictions on peoples’ energy choices.

“The environmental Left and their media allies are increasingly pushing a narrative that Republicans are increasingly supporting ‘conservative’ restrictions on energy sources to address a claimed global warming crisis,” said Grande. “In reality, very few Republican members of Congress have voiced support for such restrictions, and the failure of the proposed ALEC resolution demonstrates they are getting virtually no traction with their fellow Republican state legislators or their conservative base.”

ALEC brings together state legislators from the 50 states. Its stated guiding principles are free markets, limited government, and federalism. At ALEC meetings, legislators vote on proposed resolutions and model legislation in compliance with ALEC’s conservative guiding principles.

State legislators often take resolutions or model bills adopted by ALEC and mold them into state-specific legislation which they offer in their respective legislatures.

James Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute.