The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accord has galvanized climate action at the state and local level. A group of 12 states have formed a coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, to meet Paris climate commitments and fill the void left by the U.S. government.

Last week President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, citing the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement poses on our country.” The decision to withdraw from the agreement—a major international treaty to address climate change—is going to have broad policy and environmental impact on the global stage.

energy and environment

The Trump administration released its first full fiscal budget for 2018, called the “Taxpayer First” Budget, this week. As expected, the budget delivers a gut-punch to several energy and environment programs within the Department of Energy, or DOE, and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Furthermore, the steep cuts proposed in the budget could eventually be magnified in a sort of double whammy to state efforts to protect the environment and transition to cleaner sources of energy.

CSG South

This SLC Special Series Report, the first part in a series, examines wind energy in the Southern region.

CSG Midwest
When it came to helping craft a complex, landmark package of bills to revamp the state’s energy policy and map out the future of electric power in Michigan, Sen. Mike Nofs tried to at least keep one part of the legislative work simple and unchanging — the measure’s overarching goals.
“We wanted to control our destiny, regardless of the policies being set at the federal level,” he says. “And that meant focusing on affordability, reliability and clean energy.”
And that, in turn, led him and other lawmakers to make efficiency — or “waste reduction,” as it is now referred to in Michigan statute —  a big part of the state’s new energy law, which was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2016 (SB 437 and SB 438). Only weeks before, another Midwestern state, Illinois, also took sweeping actions on energy policy, with a law that includes new incentives and standards for its utilities to achieve greater efficiency.

The Council of State Governments has released its annual listing of the top five issues legislators will face this session in nine key policy areas, including education, workforce development, energy and the environment, federal affairs, fiscal and economic development, health, interstate compacts, transportation, and international affairs.

CSG outlines the top five issues in energy and environment policy for 2017, including an uncertain future for federal environmental policy, infrastructure, water quality and management, solar energy, and natural gas.

Rules and policies promulgated by the Obama administration, such as the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, were some of the most controversial environmental regulations seen in recent memory. While these rules have not yet been implemented at the state level and remain stayed pending the outcome of litigation, the election of President Donald J. Trump in November called into question what the future of these and other Obama administration policies will be and what role states will play in guiding energy and environmental policy in the future.

CSG Midwest
Michigan lawmakers are looking for ways to improve the availability, reliability and affordability of electricity in the state’s Upper Peninsula, and one potential solution is to bring in more power from neighboring Ontario.
In a letter this fall, the province backed Michigan’s request for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator to study the idea of extending electric-generating connections across the U.S.-Canada border.
“Interconnections with neighboring jurisdictions provide significant economic and reliability benefits on a daily basis,” wrote Glenn Thibeault, Ontario’s minister of energy, adding that these connections can help provide backup when areas lose their primary generating source.
CSG Midwest
Illinois will give Exelon Corp. $235 million in ratepayer subsidies to keep the company’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants open, as part of a bipartisan deal that drew support from the state’s renewable-energy community.

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