Among the more than 150 statewide measures on ballots in Tuesday’s midterm election were several related to climate change and the environment.
Voters in 37 states – many of them in the West – considered whether they were for or against initiatives related to renewable energy, carbon emissions and offshore drilling.
Here’s how some of the most notable environmental- and climate change-related measures went, based on preliminary results.
Renewable energy, carbon content
In Arizona, Proposition 127 would have changed the state Constitution to require nongovernmental providers to generate at least half of their annual electricity sales from certain renewable energy sources by 2030.
The initiative was rejected by 69.77% of voters, according to the secretary of state’s website.
In Nevada, State Question No. 3 asked voters whether the state Constitution should be amended to require the Legislature to provide for the establishment of an open, competitive retail electric energy market by 2023. That includes the granting of monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity.
Those in support of the question argued that “without an open market, it is difficult for Nevadans to take advantage of new technologies in energy generation,” such as renewable resources. Retail electricity markets are determined at the state level. They can be traditionally regulated, in which consumers cannot choose who generates their power and are required to purchase from the utility in that area, or they can be competitive, in which consumers choose between competitive retail suppliers.
The ballot question was rejected by 67.11% of voters, according to the secretary of state’s general election results website.
Nevada’s State Question No. 6 asked voters whether the state Constitution should be amended to require that all utility service providers that sell electricity generate or acquire incrementally larger percentages of it from renewable resources – so that, by 2030, at least half of electricity sold by each provider comes from renewable energy resources. That ballot question had 59.26% of voters in favor.
In Washington, Initiative 1631 would have imposed a carbon emission fee on large pollution-emitting companies. The fee would have started with a $15 per metric ton of carbon content in 2020 and increase annually by $2 per metric ton until the state’s 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goal – of reducing emissions to 25% below 1990 levels – is met and the state’s emissions are on a trajectory to likely reach the state’s 2050 goal of 50% below 1990 levels.
The initiative was rejected by 56.32% of voters, according to the secretary of state’s website.
Also in Washington, Advisory Vote No. 19 posed whether to repeal or maintain Senate Bill 6269, through which – without a vote of the people – the Legislature expanded oil spill response resources and “administration taxes to crude oil or petroleum products received by pipeline, costing $13,000,000 over ten years for government spending.”
The measure was voted down by 52.8%, according to the secretary of state’s website.
Oil and gas, fish habitats
There were some environmental and fracking-related measures on the ballots in Colorado and Alaska.
In Colorado, Proposition 112 would have banned oil and gas companies from drilling wells within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings, water sources and other “vulnerable” areas. It was rejected by 56.77% of voters, according to the secretary of state’s website.
In Alaska, Ballot Measure No. 1 would have amended the state’s fish habitat permitting law to apply new standards to permitting activities and development projects that have the potential to harm habitats. The measure had 61.6% of voters against, according to the Alaska Division of Elections.
Offshore drilling, new mines
In Florida, Amendment 9 would prohibit offshore drilling for gas and oil in state coastal waters, as well as using e-cigarettes in enclosed indoor workplaces. The amendment was approved by 68.85% of voters, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
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In Montana, Initiative No. 186 would have required the Department of Environmental Quality to deny permits for any new hardrock mines in Montana unless the reclamation plan provides clear and convincing evidence that the mine will not require perpetual treatment of water polluted by acid mine drainage or other contaminants. The initiative was rejected by 58% of voters, according to the secretary of state’s website.