State’s green energy effort loses steam

Republican state Sen. Mike Thompson's pushback against renewable energy is pitting him against environmentalists, utility companies and GOP colleagues.

By

State News

March 18, 2022 - 1:01 AM

Sen. Mike Thompson Photo by (SHERMAN SMITH/KANSAS REFLECTOR)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Efforts to propel Kansas’ renewable energy future are at a standstill, mired in legislative stalemate. At its center is a former TV weather personality who is using his chairmanship of a key committee to promote questionable claims about green energy and to spotlight complaints from opponents of wind and solar energy projects.

Republican state Sen. Mike Thompson’s pushback against renewable energy is pitting him not only against environmentalists, whose bills can’t get a vote in his committee, but also against big utilities and GOP colleagues, who say his measures to restrict new wind turbines and solar farms go too far.

While lawmakers in GOP-led states continue to resist the global push to drop fossil fuels, Kansas is unusual in giving such a big policy role to someone who publicly denies the link between human activity and climate change. Resistance to addressing climate change “is now starting to turn a little bit more towards the solutions side,” said Mandy Warner, the national Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and clean air policy director.

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