Big Shifts in Energy and Environment Policy - Part I

The Republican electoral victory will result in dramatic shifts in energy and environmental policy. A complete reversal of climate change policy has dominated the headlines. But with the Republican sweep, a much larger energy agenda is significantly altered. Here are a few of the issues that will be fundamentally impacted by the election earlier this month:

Renewable Energy Tax Provisions. In the waning days of 2015, Congress passed a bipartisan compromise bill that ended the oil export ban and extended most renewable energy tax provisions. However, a few renewable energy tax items were inadvertently excluded. There has been an ongoing effort to address the oversight. Now, Congressional Republicans are opposing any proposal to extend the tax items - and realistically, there is now little chance of getting those items done this year.

Yucca Mountain. Given the steadfast opposition of President Obama and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, efforts to permanently store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada were completely stymied. Hillary Clinton was similarly opposed to the site and most stakeholders expected the stalemate to continue. With the election of Donald Trump, the departure of Senator Reid, and Republican control of the House and Senate, supporters see a new opening to push Yucca Mountain forward.

Renewable Fuel Standard. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which provides statutory targets for biofuels such as ethanol, is strongly opposed by the oil industry. Republicans in Congress are optimistic about the chance to repeal RFS, and, given Donald Trump's contradictory statements, they believe he would be open to signing a bill that repeals the program.