Clean energy measures suffer significant ballot losses
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Clean energy measures suffer significant ballot losses

A number of clean energy and environmental protection ballot measures were voted down Tuesday.

These ballot measures ranged from more conventional measures requiring certain percentages of a state’s electricity production to come from renewable sources to more radical measures including direct taxes on carbon emissions and the requirement of an open and competitive electricity market.

Some notable ballot measures that were defeated include:

  • Alaska Ballot Measure 1, a state statute that would have provided specific permitting requirements for using state waters that contain protected fish habitats. (This measure was aimed at offshore Oil and Gas drilling);
  • Arizona Proposition 127, a constitutional amendment requiring electric utilities to acquire a certain percentage of power by renewable energy each year gradually raising the state’s renewable energy from 12 percent in 2020 to 50 percent by 2030;
  • California Proposition 70, a constitutional amendment which would have required a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the state legislature before the state’s cap-and-trade funds for greenhouse gases could be spent;
  • Nevada Question 3, a constitutional amendment requiring the state legislature to pass laws creating an open and competitive electricity market and prohibiting electrical monopolies and providing citizens and businesses the right to choose their provider.

These defeats come just weeks after a UN Special Report on climate change depicted a grim future if serious advances in renewable energy and carbon emissions did not come by 2050. There are still two measures in Washington State waiting to be decided:

  • Washington Advisory Vote 19, a non-binding question that is currently trending No and would have imposed a tax on crude oil and petroleum products received by pipeline;
  • Washington Initiative 1631, an initiated statute that is trending No and would have imposed a gradually increasing tax on carbon emissions and used the funds for various environmental programs.

Despite these defeats, there were a few measures passed that increased environmental protections, including:

  • Nevada Question 6, an initiated constitutional amendment requiring the state to acquire 50 percent of its electricity by renewable resources by 2030;
  • Florida Amendment 9, a commission referral to ban offshore oil and gas drilling and separately ban vaping in enclosed indoor workplaces;
  • Portland Measure 26-201, a statute that imposes a 1 percent tax on the gross receipts of large retailers in order to fund clean energy projects and job training.

Overall, clean energy saw some significant defeats in the face of spending and lobbying by large coal, oil and gas organizations, but a few key measures did succeed, which may provide the groundwork for future efforts and provide guidance for future proposals.