Updated Jan 30, 2018

State of the states’ disjointed energy policies

Photo: William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images

States have long been the battlegrounds where energy policies rise and fall, given the federal government’s bipartisan unwillingness to really tackle the issue.

This is truer than ever under President Trump, whose agenda is somewhere between status quo and rolling back everything his predecessor did. In just the last few days, we’ve seen several developments that indicate state-level policies are, like the states themselves, all over the map.

Why it matters: The divergent policies create regulatory uncertainty for large companies operating across state lines and underscore how difficult progress toward lower-carbon energy technologies will be without federal policy.

State moves in the last week:

  • New Jersey’s new governor Democrat Phil Murphy, announced Monday he’s rejoining the state into New England’s regional pact to cut carbon emissions.
  • Virginia, who also just got a new Democratic governor, is likely to follow suit.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, rejected a proposal for a massive oil-terminal there on Monday.
  • Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, said last week he was banning new wind farms.
  • New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doubling down on offshore wind as laid out in an announcement Monday.
  • North Carolina regulators last week approved a controversial natural-gas pipeline throughout the state, the last big hurdle facing the delayed project.
  • Massachusetts and Quebec’s hydroelectricity utility announced a contract to bring hydropower from our northern neighbor into the state.

What we’re watching next: The Trump administration’s ongoing deliberations with California over federal fuel-efficiency standards. The Environmental Protection Agency faces an April deadline to issue a review of the standards. It had previously revoked the Obama administration’s review.

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