The midterm elections are important because they will go a long way in shaping both state-level policies and Washington’s future appetite to consider legislation in this area. Here are six electoral moves on my radar, with a deeper look at each in the Axios stream here.
Moderate Republicans: Climate change is just beginning to re-emerge as an issue some congressional Republicans talk about publicly.
If that leads to defeat for the small handful of moderate, politically vulnerable Republicans who do it — particularly Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida — it sets back any prospect for bipartisan climate policy.
Greens’ trickiest test: Environmental groups are prioritizing helping Democrats win back the House, but Curbelo’s race presents a tough call:
- Environmental Defense Fund is supporting him, per election filings.
- The League of Conservation Voters is likely to sit out the race, according to people familiar with its position.
- NextGen America is supporting Curbelo’s Democrat opponent.
Colorado fracking: After two failed efforts to get the initiative on the ballot, Coloradans are set to vote on a proposal that would significantly increase the buffer zone from most new oil and gas drilling.
If it passes, expect it to re-energize efforts to ban fracking elsewhere — and raise big issues for Colorado-based oil companies.
Washington carbon tax: After voting down a carbon tax ballot initiative two years ago, Washington state voters have another chance — and the outcome will reverberate nationally.
California gas tax repeal: This ballot initiative would repeal a recent gasoline tax hike that raised the fuel tax by 12 cents a gallon. Conservative interests and anti-tax advocates are hoping it also rallies conservatives to get out and vote in some close House district races Democrats are hoping to flip.
Southwest renewable energy standards: Two ballot initiatives bankrolled by Tom Steyer’s NextGen America would increase the percentage of renewable electricity mandated in Arizona and Nevada.
Stay tuned for deeper dives on some of these topics in the coming weeks.