Research Topic: Energy and Environment
What are the landfill tipping fees in SLC member states?
A tipping fee is a fee charged for the disposal of waste at a landfill. Tipping fees can vary greatly at each disposal site, influenced by factors such as location, owner, size, proximity to other landfills, and other operational variables. Tipping fees cover operation and maintenance costs. When applicable, tipping fees also may include taxes, generation fees and host community fees. Fees derived by local governments, host fees, may be used by a municipality to fund local projects, county fees often fund solid waste management organizations and state fees may help fund state-wide waste reduction programs or other environmental efforts within the state.
Tipping Fees in SLC Member States
(click on headers to sort by column)
|State ||High ||Low ||Average |
|Alabama ||$47.00 ||$26.00 ||$37.00 |
|Arkansas ||$43.00 ||$33.00 ||$33.05 |
|Florida ||$83.92 ||$25.50 ||$43.65 |
|Georgia ||$45.00 ||$30.55 ||$38.27 |
|Kentucky ||$55.00 ||$33.50 ||$44.69 |
|Louisiana ||$31.00 ||$19.80 ||$26.96 |
|Mississippi ||$47.00 ||$11.00 ||$26.48 |
|Missouri ||$48.11 ||$30.00 ||$38.38 |
|North Carolina ||$65.84 ||$27.50 ||$41.59 |
|Oklahoma ||$50.29 ||$27.75 ||$38.31 |
|South Carolina ||$66.00 ||$29.00 ||$42.61 |
|Tennessee ||$48.00 ||$30.50 ||$41.50 |
|Texas ||$41.00 ||$5.00 ||$28.95 |
|Virginia ||$66.00 ||$32.00 ||$46.11 |
|West Virginia ||$69.25 ||$41.75 ||$49.46 |
How are the SLC member states responding to the recent U.S. Supreme Court Stay of the U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan?
On February 9, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court issued a nationwide stay, blocking implementation of the Clean Power Plan until litigation over the legality of the Plan has concluded. SLC states have responded to the Supreme Court’s stay in three ways: eight states have suspended planning, four states are assessing their options and three states are continuing to plan.
SLC Member States' Responses to Supreme Court Stay of U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan
Source: E&E Publishing Power Plan Hub (accessed March 3, 2016)
A River Runs Through It: An Update on the Tri-State Water Wars
Throughout the history of the United States, water has been the key to determining settlement patterns and development opportunities. It is migratory in nature and often crosses many boundaries, a characteristic that has generated ownership disputes and countless conflicts. Every state in the contiguous United States shares ground or surface water resources with another state, and almost every major city is located near a river or body of water.
Water resource scarcity can affect many sectors of a state's economy as well as the region's natural ecosystems. The Southern United States, characterized by a network of major rivers and tributaries, and generally abundant precipitation, has enjoyed a generous water supply. Consequently, the region has not experienced the water disputes that have plagued the Western United States. However, development pressure, changes in precipitation patterns, and transitioning priorities and consumption levels have caused a shift in these circumstances. When water shortages do arise, they often can cause interstate conflicts. Perhaps one of the most widely reported and longest running of these interstate disputes in the Southern region involves Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, known as the "tri-state water wars." The tri-state water wars have spanned 25 years and center on water resource allocation in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basins. Recognizing the importance of this dispute and the impact the resolution will have on the states involved, the issue has remained relevant to the ongoing policy work of the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). This third review of the issue advances the developments and actions that have occurred since SLC last reported on the conflict in 2010. Additionally, it should be noted that The Council of State Government's Center for Interstate Compacts has more than 75 years of experience in promoting multi-state problem solving and advocating for the role of states in determining their respective futures.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Waste Tire Disposal Laws in the Southern States
Despite more than 20 years of efforts to address the issue of waste tires nationwide, large illegal stockpiles persist. In a number of reported incidents where stockpiles have caught on fire, mitigation of the site has taken up to nine years and $22 million to complete. Remediation of large illegal stockpiles has been reported to take more than five years to complete. While the tracking and disposal of waste tires continue to present challenges, legislatures in the states comprising the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments have been focusing on this problem, creating legislation and devising mechanisms to address this problem, since 1989.
This SLC Regional Resource
outlines some of the key criteria contained in the SLC states' waste tire disposal laws and rules, provides an overview of state waste tire laws and concludes with an assessment of best practices undertaken by states in the region.
In SLC states, how many acres of land were burned by wild or prescribed fires in 2014?
Wildfires in the SLC Member States
|State ||Number of wild fires ||Acres burned ||Number of prescribed fires ||Acres burned ||Total acres burned|
Source: National Interagency Coordination Center
Clearing the Air: SLC State Responses to the Clean Power Proposed Rule
On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule under the authority of Section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act. This Proposed Rule would establish state-specific goals to limit greenhouse gas emissions by setting firm carbon reduction standards that each state would have to meet beginning in 2020 and accelerating through 2030. While it is unclear whether the EPA will revise its Final Rule, which is expected by July 2015, many states in the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments already have enacted legislation addressing the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule and its regulations.
This SLC Issue Alert
provides an overview of some measures taken by state legislatures in the SLC region to address the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule through the 2014 legislative session. This Issue Alert
is not a legal analysis of Section 111(d), nor does it take a position on compliance pathways or the EPA's proposed state-specific carbon dioxide (CO2) goals.
Tale of Two Cities: The Impact of Slumping Oil Prices on the Economy
As the effects of dipping oil prices ricochet through the United States and the world, it is increasingly becoming clear that there are winners and losers. Triggered by an explosion in American oil and gas production levels; sputtering economic trends in Europe, China, Japan, Russia and emerging markets leading to declining demand; increasing production from producers like Iraq and Libya; countries like Saudi Arabia, a producer with an oversized impact on global oil supplies, maintaining supplies at current output levels and resisting production cuts; and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar have acted in concert to substantially push oil prices downward: from $115 a barrel in June 2014 to less than $50 a barrel in January 2015.
The latest plunge in oil prices has sent seismic waves throughout the globe, prompting disparate consequences in different sectors of the United States and world economies; while some sectors are net beneficiaries of the decline, other sectors are on the losing end of the falling price of oil. High energy prices pose huge burdens for most Americans, particularly those who drive great distances each day and those who only can turn the thermostats down so low when the weather turns cold. Hence, increasing energy prices result in consumers cutting back on their discretionary spending, a trend that causes negative consequences on state, regional and national economies. However, when energy prices fall, consumers have considerable leeway in devoting these savings toward other expenditures. Meanwhile, tumbling oil prices lead to adverse consequences at several points in the economy with repercussions at both the state and national levels. In that vein, SLC Regional Resource
examines the effects of low oil prices on both state economies and the greater nation.
SLC State Efforts to Rebuild the Coastline
Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, damaging thousands of homes and businesses, decimating public infrastructure, and displacing hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents. The coastal communities of SLC member states Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana were devastated. The resiliency of these coastal communities is of critical economic importance to the nation, as they provide a large portion of the nation's oil and gas supply, host key port complexes and provide vital habitats for economically important fisheries.
In the nearly 10 years that have elapsed since this disaster, much attention has focused on the rehabilitation of the area's homes, businesses and infrastructure. However, less attention has been targeted to the reconstruction of the coastlines of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. In order to maintain a sustainable Gulf Coast, investments in sound redevelopment and restoration practices, balancing the critical natural resources of the Gulf Coast with the equally vital economic drivers in the region, are critical to full recovery and necessary to weakening future natural disasters. This SLC Regional Resource
highlights projects undertaken by these states to rebuild their coastlines, focusing on the communities of Dauphin Island, Alabama; Pascagoula, Mississippi; and the metropolitan area of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Charging Forward: Net Metering Policies in SLC States
Energy policies in Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states are undergoing substantial changes as installations of distributed generation systems, such as rooftop solar panels and other small-scale renewable energy technologies, continue to expand. This expansion has been encouraged by state and federal tax credits, which have made renewable energy technology, especially solar energy technology, increasingly affordable. Further encouraging the installation of distributed generation technologies is the availability of net metering programs.
Increases in the use of distributed generation systems by consumers have led to an increase in demand for utilities to offer net metering. Of the 15 states represented by the SLC, 11 have statewide net metering policies, while Texas has a voluntary policy. This SLC Regional Resource
reviews the concept of net metering and analyzes the status and nature of net metering legislation and trends in SLC member states.
Which SLC member states have implemented a State Energy Plan?
Typically, a governor or legislature initiates the state energy planning process through an executive order or enabling legislation that requires either a one-time planning event or a cyclical process that ensures revision, review, and evaluation of the plan at regular intervals. Executive orders and legislation generally offer a timeframe for a state energy plan’s development (e.g., three months to one year), as well as an outlook for the plan (e.g., 5, 10, or 20 years). In its 2011 analysis, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) found that 23 of 39 plans were initiated through state legislation or executive order, which granted authority for the creation of the state energy plan and/or planning process.
The majority of state energy plans are required to be reviewed and updated every two years and are developed within three months to one year.
State energy plans that are required or integrated within state executive and/or legislative policy help give the plan “teeth”, or the appropriate authority and influence, thereby ensuring that the plan is the state's broadly accepted energy framework.
The state energy office typically determines the overarching scope and objectives for the plan. This sets the stage for the energy planning process and the overall purpose for the plan (e.g., diversify the state’s energy portfolio, create jobs, promote the use of in-state energy resources).
A majority ‐ 23 ‐ of the states with an energy plan as of late 2011 relied on the state energy office as the lead in outlining, drafting, and finalizing the plan, according to NASEO’s analysis. Of the 13 states with a team of selected stakeholders, six included the state energy office in that group among other key stakeholders. Five states had plans authored by the governor and two had plans developed by the public utility commission.
A governor may come into leadership with an energy strategy developed during his or her candidacy that could serve as the state energy office’s foundation for a state energy plan. On the other hand, the legislature may determine that an energy plan could help the state address energy prices, supplies, and other changing needs in the energy sector.
Since 2008, what legislation addressing climate change has been passed in SLC member states?
|STATE ||BILL ||YEAR ||STATUS ||AUTHOR ||TOPICS ||SUMMARY |
|Alabama ||AL SJR 57 ||2014 ||Enacted ||Reed ||Climate Change, Climate Change - Emissions Reduction ||Urges the Environmental Protection Agency to support the state regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by recognizing state developed standards. |
|Alabama ||AL SJR 91 ||2012 ||Enacted ||Waggoner ||Climate Change, Climate Change - Emissions Reduction ||Urges the United States congress to adopt legislation prohibiting the environmental protection agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions without congressional approval. |
|Alabama ||AL HJR 197 ||2011 ||Enacted ||DeMarco ||Climate Change, Climate Change - Emissions Reduction ||Urges the United States Congress to adopt legislation prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions without Congressional approval. |
|Alabama ||AL HR 567 ||2009 ||Adopted ||Scott ||Climate Change ||Expresses support for the need for the United States and the state of Alabama to address the problem of global climate change through the adoption of a fair and effective approach that safeguards American jobs, ensures affordable energy for citizens, and maintains America's global competitiveness. |
Waste Storage and Water Safety: Lessons from West Virginia and North Carolina
In Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states, the coal and chemical industries are essential to state economies. Because of the importance of these industries to the region, both in terms of economic development and employment opportunities, legislators often are faced with balancing business interests with the need for environmental protection and conservation. Recently, hazardous spills in two SLC states - West Virginia and North Carolina - have focused attention on this careful balance. This SLC Regional Resource examines the spills in West Virginia and North Carolina and the immediate remedial action taken by each state. Understanding how these states reacted in the wake of water contamination can help other SLC states respond quickly and effectively if faced with similar challenges.
What solar incentives and policies have been implemented by the SLC member states?
|State ||Corporate Tax Credit ||Industry Recruitment / Support ||Personal Tax Credit ||Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing ||Property Tax Incentive ||Sales Tax Incentive ||State Grant Program ||State Loan Program(s) ||Other Financial Incentive ||Energy Standards for Public Buildings ||Inter-connection ||Net Metering ||Renewables Portfolio Standard ||Solar/Wind Access Policy ||Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing ||Other Rule, Regulation or Policy |
|Alabama || || || || || || || ||X || || || || || || || || |
|Arkansas || || || || || || || ||X || ||X ||X ||X || || ||X || |
|Florida ||X || || ||X || ||X || || || ||X ||X ||X || ||X ||X ||Equipment Certification Requirements |
|Georgia ||X || ||X || || || || || || || ||X ||X || ||X || || |
|Kentucky ||X ||X ||X || || || ||X ||X || || ||X ||X || ||X || || |
Which SLC States Have Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) Programs?
Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) programs have attracted a lot of attention in the last three or four years. The obvious advantages of PACE programs are that they are voluntary (all eight SLC states that have authorized PACE programs that allow local counties and/or municipalities to make the decision to participate) and they address the largest barrier to energy efficiency improvements: large upfront costs. The following SLC states that have passed PACE legislation (click on the hyperlink for bill text):
- Florida ‐ HB7179 (2010)
- Georgia ‐ HB1388 (2010)
- Louisiana ‐ SB224 (2009)
- Missouri ‐ HB1692 (2010)
- North Carolina ‐ SB97 (2009)
- Oklahoma ‐ SB668 (2009); SB102 (2011)
- Texas ‐ HB1937 (2009)
- Virginia ‐ SB1212 (2009); SB110 (2010) (clarified that the municipality is authorized to place a lien on property for amount of loan, and may bundle loans and/or transfer them to private financial institutions, without impacting lien)
In all of these states, local governments are the ones who determine funding sources; establish interest rates and terms of loan; authorize participation of private lenders; determine the method for collecting loan repayment (e.g., water/sewer bills, real property tax assessments); etc.
Economic Expansion, Energy Independence and Environmental Efficiency: Renewables in the South
This SLC Special Series Report
explores efforts initiated by Southern states in recent years to develop the renewable energy sector in the region and an assessment of the economic development, energy and environmental benefits expected to flow from these efforts. The report comprises three parts:
- Part 1 explores the economic development component of the renewable energy sector with details on how the renewable sector could rejuvenate the nation's eroding manufacturing sector and job creation trends (direct, indirect and induced) at both the national and state levels related to the renewable energy sector.
- Part 2 focuses on the energy component and includes details on the status, nationally and regionally, of such renewable components as hydro, solar, wind, biomass and geothermal; renewable portfolio standards and the general move toward renewable sources as a domestic and local source of reliable and sustainable energy; composition of the contemporary energy market; national and regional trends; and, finally, an assessment of the environmental and public health benefits to developing renewable energy.
- Part 3 delves into the SLC state profiles and relies mostly on the responses provided by states to the SLC surveys with such details as financial incentives proffered for energy efficiency at both the residential and commercial levels; energy savings and environmental impacts; financial incentives for renewable energy provided to both attract and/or retain corporations to the different SLC states; and a sampling of the different renewable energy projects either active or pending in the states.
Natural Gas Recovery and "Hydrofracking
Increasingly, natural gas has gained popularity as a cleaner substitute for fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking," has made shale gas an economically viable alternative to conventional natural gas sources. Shale gas is located much deeper in the ground, typically at least 2,000 feet below the surface, and historically has been much more difficult and expensive to recover. Hydrofracking uses a cocktail of water; sand or ceramic material; and various chemicals that are injected at a high pressure into the shale, in order to fracture the rock and release the gas. A vertical hole is dug, then the drill is turned horizontally to continue the well from the vertical bore. Piping encased in cement feeds the mixture of 99 percent water and sand or ceramic, and 1 percent chemicals, into the shale. The sand holds the fracture open so that the gas can seep into the well, and the chemicals work as thickeners and lubricants, allowing the fluid to work its way through the fissures.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
The United States' geologic composition contains large amounts of natural gas, perhaps third in the world behind only Russia and the Middle East, and many SLC states, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, have huge reserves of the fuel. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), although natural gas consumption is rising in the United States, imports have been steadily declining over the last few years. The report points out that, from 2007 to 2010, imports declined by approximately 1.2 trillion cubic feet, or one-third. This is due largely to the rise in domestic production from shale gas formations, which has more than tripled during that same period, resulting in lower natural gas prices, as well as new jobs in the industry. These trends are at least partly attributable to the increased development and use of hydrofracking.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Nuclear Safety in a Post-Fukushima World
In light of the recent disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan, the conversation regarding the immediate future of nuclear power in the United States and the world is at the forefront of recent energy discussions. In addition to ongoing concerns regarding the lack of any long-term, permanent storage for spent nuclear fuel, more scrutiny from all sectors regarding safety is now being focused on reactors and plants. Germany has shut down all reactors built before 1980. Singapore and Switzerland have halted approval for future plants. China, perhaps the world's most ambitious nuclear energy producer, recently announced that it will suspend nuclear power plant development until a comprehensive review of its current plants and those under construction can be carried out. Ban Ki-moon, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, recently called on world governments to strengthen nuclear safety standards, including protections against terrorist attacks.
Creating Value: Recycling in the Southern States
Water Allocation and Management: Southern States Outlook
How many nuclear facilities and reactors are located in the SLC states?
Map of Nuclear Reactors in the South
|State || |
|Alabama || |
|Arkansas || |
|Florida || |
|Georgia || |
|Kentucky * || |
|Louisiana || |
|Maryland || |
|Mississippi || |
|Missouri || |
|North Carolina || |
|Oklahoma * || |
|South Carolina || |
|Tennessee || |
Landfill Gas to Fuel
Southern States' Clean Air Act Compliance: Ozone and Particulate Matter Standards in Transition
Regional Transmission Organization Presence and Activities in Southern States
Water Permitting Fees and TMDL Development in Southern States
The War over Water