When the price of gas peaked at more than $3 a gallon last year and winter promised steep increases in home heating costs, some legislators assumed promoting renewable energy and conservation would be big issues this year.
They turned out to be wrong.
With the start of the 2006 session's ninth week Monday, the Legislature had made relatively little progress on conservation and renewable energy legislation. At least nine bills were introduced this year, and so far only one has passed a single chamber.
Some lawmakers believe their colleagues lost interest in the topics when gasoline prices dropped and the winter turned out to be much milder than anticipated. Some of the proposals would cost state and local governments tax revenues, and the potential for short-term utility rate increases also have become an issue.
"Essentially, a majority of legislators don't feel a lot of pressure right now to take action," said Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, a member of the House Utilities Committee. "The energy crisis furor of last fall has dissipated."
While it's hard to say if Kansas will show itself to be on the cutting edge in losing interest in renewable energy, and there certainly are states, particularly in the Northeast and on the West Coast, that have been taking positive steps forward, I'm disheartened by this display of business as usual. Still, I'll keep the lantern up, looking for a politician with a bit of foresight...
Categories: renewable, energy, legislation, politics, Kansas