The Wall Street Journal wrote about my Tennessean article on LCFS
Tennessee Pols to Lamar Alexander: Forget About Low-Carbon Fuel Standards
In certain circles, Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander is a hero on energy matters. His relentless crusade for nuclear power, for instance, became virtually the sum total of GOP energy prescriptions. But that doesn’t mean all of Sen. Alexander’s energy ideas get a warm welcome—even within the Republican party.
His support for a low-carbon fuel standard—essentially a plan to penalize “dirty” fuels such as Canadian oil sands–is rankling some rank-and-file Republicans back in his native Tennessee.
State Rep. Susan Lynn fired off a letter last Friday chiding Sen. Alexander for even flirting with the idea; Sen. Alexander has repeatedly said that such a standard could help the environment without raising energy prices.
“At its core, a [low carbon fuel standard] would initiate a direct ban on the importation of some of our most secure and affordable sources of energy,” she wrote. “It would necessarily expand America’s already dangerous dependence on foreign, unstable energy from suppliers half-a-world away…”
She urged Sen. Alexander to use his position on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee “to stand up for the energy interests of Tennessee and prevent this plan from advancing any further.”
This is just the latest salvo in the low-carbon fuel wars—a public broadside against an energy policy that doesn’t actually exist.
There was a low-carbon fuel standard in the first version of the Waxman-Markey bill; it later disappeared. It has yet to appear in the Senate climate bill. Yet the very idea of a low-carbon fuel standard that could put Canadian oil off limits has the energy-security crowd mobilizing.
What’s interesting is that Rep. Lynn doesn’t just represent Tennessee’s 57th district. She also chairs the American Legislative Exchange Council’s task force on commerce, insurance, and economic development. ALEC is a group of about 2,000 state legislators fighting for free-market, small-government solutions and helps craft state-level legislation.
ALEC already bitterly opposed the cap-and-trade plans in Congress this year; it apparently finds a low-carbon fuel standard a sorry alternative. That doesn’t leave many options if Washington—or states—are going to tackle carbon emissions.