Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

With Deep Pockets, Energy Industry Notches Big Midterm Wins - Do You Support Renewable Energy?

by Axios | Updated on 11.7.18

The oil industry and a big utility fended off three ballot initiatives that would have been bad for their businesses after pouring millions of dollars into separate efforts across a trio of Western states.

Why it matters: The industry wins are stark examples of how money-fueled negative messaging can persuade voters. It also shows how fights over energy policy have moved to the states as the issue remains mostly off the table in Washington.


The details:

  • Colorado’s proposal would have essentially banned new drilling in many parts of the state after roughly tripling the required distance between buildings and drilling to 2,500 feet, per The Denver Post.
  • Washington’s proposal would have imposed a carbon fee on large emitters to then fund a range of clean-energy initiatives, per The Seattle Times.
  • In Arizona, the proposal would have increased the state’s requirement for renewable-energy electricity to 50% by 2030, up from the current 15% goal by 2025, per local news outlet KGUN.

By the numbers: Collectively, incumbent energy companies spent nearly $100 million fighting the proposals.

  • Oil companies including Anadarko and Noble Energy, which have big footprints in Colorado, spent $30 million there.
  • BP and Chevron were among the big funders making that fight the most expensive one in Washington history.
  • Arizona’s biggest utility, Arizona Public Service, put $30 million into fighting the expansion of renewable electricity in that state, per The Washington Post.

At least two big energy-related ballot initiatives did pass though.

  • A ballot initiative in Nevada that increased its renewable-electricity requirement, which did not face much opposition, passed, per local outlet KTNV.
  • A ballot measure in Florida that bans offshore drilling in state waters passed, per Florida Today.

What’s next: The Washington and Colorado fights were largely seen as bellwethers for whether other states could pass similar policies, so losses there are a blow to any momentum.

  • This was Washington’s second time attempting to pass by ballot a price on carbon emissions. Voters also rejected the measure two years ago, and that was without much oil-industry opposition. Washington’s Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, told me earlier this summer he plans to keep trying at the state legislature.
  • The fight over fracking in Colorado has been going on for years, so don’t expect this tension to go away either. Newly elected Democratic Gov. Jared Polis had been a vocal opponent of drilling close to homes, so expect activists to take their cause directly to him. Though it's worth nothing that he did oppose the ballot measure, showing the industry’s influence in the state.

Go deeper:

-Amy Harder

Axios

Written by Axios

Follow this Action Center to stay updated on new posts

Leave a comment
(72)
  • John
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Of course! Or we can choke in the filthy air. Or suffocate in the particles and smog.

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • Robert
    11/07/2018
    ···

    I support alternative energy. But the main problem is that our politicians are bought and paid for by special interest, and they have no interest in the environment or the American people, only the money. If we do not get the money influence out of our government we are doomed to fail. Let’s not wait until another great depression.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Hal
    Voted No
    11/07/2018
    ···

    No, it’s not that it doesn’t work - it does in most cases. It’s that the engineers who calculate costs/savings always appear biased against the utility. If you don’t mind being cold or in the dark with your solar “ stuff” OK, no argument. But the reality is someone has to back this fledgling technology that simply can’t be depended upon (unless you’re on a space mission). In rural America there is no technical support, parts or an alternative power source so you can watch “Oprah”, cool beer or cook supper. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. In short only the developers or contractors can count on solar. You absolutely must have good old, ancient poles & wires & meter technology to make it reliable. If you need that isn’t it easier to forego the solar capital costs & use conventional electricity?

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Houston45
    Voted Maybe
    11/08/2018
    ···

    Renewable energy is preferred. But only if these industries are economically sustainable. Forcing expensive, government subsidized energy isn’t anything I’m interested to see supported.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • J. scott
    Voted Yes
    11/08/2018
    ···

    That’s what energy companies do is defend their interests by any means necessary. Interestingly today the really rich folks are guys like Bezos the richest man on earth, the Microsoft guy the Apple guys and others Oil is fading but there’s enough wealth to make trouble for decades but they are fading and desperate and their product is finite and dwindling. It’s a mattered time but a longer time than we think presently.

    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
  • James
    Voted No
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Go Big Oil ! We win!

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Matthew
    Voted Maybe
    11/08/2018
    ···

    If you mean by renewable energy, steel windmills and battery operated cars, than no. I’m for wealthy people and celebrities giving up their yachts and jets before talking smack about what the rest of should do

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Tom
    11/08/2018
    ···

    I support ALL energy interests !

    Like
    Follow
    Share
  • sammypolitics
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Let’s keep the air clean for us and future generations.

    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
  • Dori
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    We must go this way to be responsible tenants of this planet.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Josh
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Clean energy is not only a push toward the future, but provides future generations with the hopes of a healthier planet. Innovating and growing clean energy should also bring in job opportunities and economic growth. While coal should not be cut off entirely, it is important for us, as a world leader, to emphasize the transition to new energy.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Yay4Marx
    Voted Yes
    11/08/2018
    ···

    The big money made it impossible to combat in WA. Constant TV ads, street signs and digital media designed to misinform voters. Suuuuper disappointed in my state! Climate change will not wait for dem’s or GOP, although GOP is absent of reason, so this largely rests on progressives, join in the fight for our future!

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Al
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Renewable energy needs to be the focus of all future energy needs and building projects. As the population grows the need for fossil fuel will not decrease even with the requirement to add renewable energy sources. As international leaders and the largest consumer of energy we should be leading the way and setting the example for other countries to follow regarding the use of renewable energy. Stop the archaic arguments that fossil fuels are the best way to move our country forward.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Mark
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Planet before profit for ourselves and our children’s future. Stewardship is each generations obligation and we have been failing miserably!

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • TeresaThomas
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Why would anyone NOT support renewable energy?

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Patty
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Fossil fuels will run out. The future is in clean energy both in terms of jobs and reducing health costs.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Rebecca
    Voted Yes
    11/08/2018
    ···

    We need energy that won’t kill our wildlife or risk our people’s health.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • TrulyTexan
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Take money out of politics. These companies bribe politicians and product ads lying to the public. Renewable energy now!

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Joshua
    Voted Yes
    11/08/2018
    ···

    You should always be able to use renewable energy as your preferred energy sent to your home.

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Merry
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Of course I suppose saving planet earth. How can the American people of any state permit pollution, fracking, spraying crops, chemically messing up seeds??? The list goes on...

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brian
    Voted Yes
    11/08/2018
    ···

    Renewable energy is our future

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Steve
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Stop subsidizing big business. Stop gas subsidies. IMPEACH Trump.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Robert
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    Solar, Wind, Geo-Thermal etc. NOT COAL, NOT GAS, Fossil Fuelsetc

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jackson
    Voted Yes
    11/07/2018
    ···

    We need to convert to renewable energy before we destroy our home.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brittany
    Voted Yes
    11/09/2018
    ···

    Oh my gosh. !! Why aren’t home owners or big company’s already using solar power ? Perhaps their roof tops ? Because it’s expensive 🤔🤔🤔🤔?! Why do we have to complicate things so much ?!

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share