Last week, Kansas State Rep. Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) failed to obtain the Kansas Chamber of Commerce political action committee endorsement. In a surprisingly frank and revealing email to his supporters, Schwab claims that his position on the proposed weakening of Kansas’ renewable energy portfolio standard and a dispute with lobbyists for Koch Industries Inc. cost him the Chamber PAC’s support. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce is the state’s leading business lobbying group and is funded by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch.
In his email Schwab recounts his experience serving on the Kansas House Committee on Energy and Environment as the panel considered a bill in 2013 that would have weakened the state’s renewable energy portfolio (RPS). According to Schwab, many businesses in areas with wind farms and wind-related jobs testified against the bill, while the only groups speaking out in support of the bill were out of state think tanks. After the committee hearing, Schwab says that Koch lobbyist Jonathan Small informed him Koch Industries was pushing the bill.
But when Schwab ran into Koch lobbyists at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Topeka later that year, he says the lobbyist thought he had opposed the bill and lashed out against him. ... There have been multiple Koch-backed attempts to weaken the RPS in Kansas. Last month, the Kansas House of Representatives voted 63-60 to defeat the bill that would have weakened the state’s renewable energy standard, which requires that utilities get 20 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.Just this March a bipartisan group of both Kansas Senate and House legislatures rejected efforts to roll back and delay the RPS, reports Foster.
But now, five term House Rep Scott Schwab faces a primary challenge from John Wilson, a former Libertarian now running against him in the Republican primary on August 5, who says he would have voted to repeal the RPS.
The Lawrence Journal-World, reports that the Chamber of Commerce is also targeting Republicans Rep. Russ Jennings of Lakin, Rep Tom Sloan of Lawrence and Rep. Kent Thompson of Iola for "refusing to vote against renewable energy."
The fossil fuel industry and utilities see this progress as a real threat to their legacy investments in coal and fossiol fuel fired energy production. We must educate ourselves and push back against these attempts to block progress in renewable energy and reducing the burning of fossil fuels which is driving global warming.
3:32 PM PT: Thanks to anastasia p who tells us that Governor Kasich has signed the Ohio RPS delay:
Correction: Kasich is NOT "reported set to sign" the two-year freeze of the standards. It's a done deal. He snuck his signature on SB 310 last Friday afternoon into the weekend news dump. We are furious here in Ohio, and hoping — since Ohio is the first state to do this and clearly a test market for other states — the environmental groups will have the good sense to invest in Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald who had made it clear he would have vetoed SB 310. Because there is already a bill circulating in the Ohio legislature for sponsors that would repeal the renewable energy standards permanently and if Kasich is re-elected, he WILL sign it.
This is what I'm trying to alert people to. There is a behind the scenes assault on state RPS standards. It sounds like a conspiracy theory but it is really happening. Thanks anatasia p. If readers know of any other efforts in other states please let us know.