We are now past "Turnaround Week" which means that bills are out of their house of origin and acted upon in their respective committees. Some bills are "blessed" as they are referred to an exempt committee for a brief period of time to keep them viable after this week. As you might guess, now the Senate will have the bills passed by the House available and the same for the House with regard to Senate bills. And this past week, the process has begun again!
But the action in committees of our concern has been limited, as most attention is given to front burner issues such as the rescission bill (state budget for the remainder of this fiscal year ending June 30, 2011) as well as the budget for the next fiscal year.
We've been mired in a budget stalemate and the key difference in the bills hinges upon special education funds which the Senate rescission bill has paid for and the House's has not. The lack of funding in the House rescission bill threatens perpetual reductions in federal school aid for Kansas. At this point, the conference committee working this bill has stopped meeting, meaning House and Senate leadership will work behind the scenes to hash out the details and push further meetings later into the session.
In a recent revolation, NCEL members have called to our attention recent activities of the polluter funded state legislators' group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has released a report providing resources and model legislation to help its members weaken environmental regulations, including he Clean Air Act, at the federal and state level. ALEC targets EPA's regulations for greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions.
This may be the first time that many of us have viewed the corporate polluter funded legislative agenda of ALEC, but it is definitely not the first time our legislators have seen it as we have already encountered one version of these suggested legislative priorities. Fortunately, the ALEC legislation (HR6008) was just a resolution and not law.
Property Rights for Solar and Wind Resources
House Bill 2141 would amend current law concerning conveyance of real estate. This bill would allow only the surface owner of a tract of land to use the land to produce wind or solar generated energy, unless the owner has entered into a lease or easement for those rights for a definite period. This bill would take effect affect July1, 2011. This law would not prohibit conservation easements. The intent of this bill is to ensure that, unlike mineral rights, wind and solar rights could not be permanently severed from a tract of land. This bill has passed the Kansas House and will be heard before the Senate Utilities committee.
Tax Credit for Electric Vehicle Charging Station
SB 109 would create a tax credit for any commercial or residential plug-in electric vehicle charging station in an amount equal to 100% of the cost to the taxpayer for the purchase of any equipment that is used for dispensing or storing electricity for plug-in electric vehicles.
Although electric vehicles provide a new technology with which we have the capability to use renewable energies like solar and wind to power our vehicles, if their batteries are filled with the power of coal they still are not green. And this is the situation in Kansas.
According to some studies, is that when coal plants supply the majority of the power mix in a given area, electric vehicles may emit more CO2 and SO2 pollution than hybrid electric vehicles. Currently 75-80%of our electricity comes from coal and as of right now there are no retirements of coal plants contemplated in Kansas.
The taxpayer will have to pay the entire cost of these charging stations and the KCC has not approved any time of day electricity rates and there is nothing to prevent someone from charging up at peak demand and electric vehicles in our state have the potential to increase demand for fossil fueled power.
The increased use of electric vehicles in certain parts of the country will be an ingredient in our fight to protect our lands, air, and water against the threats of climate change. But it is essential that when supporting electric vehicle policies we know where our electricity comes from, what plans our state or community has for shifting to renewables, and whether we have options for switching to greener power. Kansas is reliant upon dirty energy and not ready for this technology.
You can find your legislator by visiting http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/vote/ or by using the voters self defense system provided by Project Vote Smart at http://www.VoteSmart.org
Legislative Director | Kansas Sierra Club
Owner | campaign.cc