Quantcast
Connect with us

Voters in three US states reject initiatives to curb fossil fuel use

Published

on

Voters in Colorado, Arizona and Washington states rejected ballot initiatives that sought to curb fossil fuels use by restricting drilling, putting a fee on carbon emissions and mandating wider use of renewable energy.

The results were a setback for green activists, but a win for the energy industry and the Trump administration, which has sought to unfetter oil, gas, and coal production by rolling back environmental protections.

ADVERTISEMENT

The outcomes showed “voters reject policies that would make energy more expensive,” said Thomas J. Pyle, president of free market advocacy group American Energy Alliance.

While polls had indicated rising concerns among Americans over carbon emissions and water quality, the measures on the ballot in the three states to rein in fossil fuels industries were soundly rejected on U.S. Election Day on Tuesday.

    In Colorado, an initiative to limit new drilling near populated or vulnerable areas, which would have heavily curtailed the industry, received 43 percent of the vote, less than the majority required to pass.

The Washington state measure, meanwhile, which would have imposed the nation’s first fee on carbon emissions – mostly at the expense of the state’s oil refiners – garnered only 44 percent of the vote.

Groups defending the oil industry spent a combined $66 million to defeat the Colorado and Washington measures, with much of the contributions coming from large energy companies – including BP Plc and Marathon Oil Corp unit Andeavor.

ADVERTISEMENT

Environmental groups blamed the defeat of the Washington state carbon fee on the hefty spending by opponents.

“Big oil spent unprecedented amounts of money to tell big lies,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said at an event on Wednesday to discuss the election.

Washington state’s measure was supported by millions of dollars in contributions from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and an alliance of other billionaires and environmental groups.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ted Halstead, head of the Climate Leadership Council, an industry-backed group proposing a nationwide carbon tax, said the defeat of the Washington state carbon fee “highlights the need for a popular and politically viable approach to carbon pricing at the federal level.” A tax or fee is intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

In Arizona, voters defeated a proposal backed by billionaire activist Thomas Steyer that would have required electricity providers to use renewable energy for half of their needs by 2030, up from the current 15 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

The measure was opposed by Arizona Public Service Co [AZD.UL], the state’s largest utility, which argued it would be forced to shut coal and nuclear plants, and pass along those costs to customers.

A similar measure backed by Steyer in Nevada passed.

On Wednesday Steyer said the failure in Arizona was due to the way the measure was described on the ballot, implying the change could drive up costs for consumers and which had been written by the state’s Republican attorney general.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What we saw in terms of the ballot initiatives is that Americans in purple states support clean energy overwhelmingly as long as you are allowed to talk honestly about it,” Steyer said, referring to states where the Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support.

DRILLER SHARES JUMP
Shares in oil producers operating in Colorado rallied on Wednesday after the state’s proposed drilling restrictions failed. Anadarko Petroleum Corp gained 6 percent and Noble Energy Inc jumped 5 percent.

“We think the wide margin of victory matters and that it will serve as a deterrent to those who might otherwise decide to fund another round of opposition to the industry in the next election cycle,” Capital One Advisors wrote in a Wednesday note about the Colorado measure.

Colorado’s proposal would have required new oil wells to be at least 2,500 feet (762 m), five times the current minimum separation, from occupied or sensitive areas, effectively placing much of the state off-limits to new drilling.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are going to keep fighting,” Russell Mendell, of anti-fracking group Colorado Rising, which backed the measure, said on Wednesday.

But opponents, including Colorado municipal officials, warned that the measure would have cost the state’s economy billions of dollars, and would have reduced funding for roads, schools and public safety.

Reporting by Liz Hampton and Gary McWilliams in Houston and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here’s why Ukrainians are shocked about Rudy Giuliani’s new associate

Published

on

President Donald Trump's personal attorney is causing "shock" among Ukrainians for working with Andrey Artemenko, according to new reports.

"In an attempt to exonerate President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani has been working with right-wing media outlet One America News Network (OAN) to produce a television special featuring a string of current and former Ukrainian officials defending Trump’s conduct in withholding military aid to Ukraine and seeking investigations of the Bidens," Law & Crime reported Saturday.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Irony and Outrage’: How different — and how similar — are Samantha Bee and Fox News?

Published

on

Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are masters of outrage — not just the emotion, but a genre of political theater — just as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are masters of ironic satire. They’re poles apart, and yet — ironically or outrageously — they’re profoundly similar, both in how they’re impacting their audiences, and why their genres emerged when they did. That’s perhaps the central thesis of “Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States,” by Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, who’s both a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware and an improv comedian with the troupe ComedySportz Philadelphia. That’s among the many different hats she wears.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Video surfaces of Eric Trump in Ukraine

Published

on

Video surfaced on Saturday of one of President Donald Trump's children in Kyiv as Congress and federal prosecutors examine the family's dealings in Ukraine and Russia.

On Friday, Democratic strategist Scott Dworkin released a still photo of Eric Trump reportedly in Ukraine.

On Saturday's Dworkin's Democratic Coalition released video of the event.

Watch:

https://twitter.com/TheDemCoalition/status/1203457171352145921

Continue Reading