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Texas leads 19-state coalition challenging green energy transition mandate | National

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Bethany Blankley | contributor – 2024-06-18 09:24:00

(The Center Square) – is leading a 19-state coalition challenging a federal agency requiring states to implement a “green energy” transition.

The states filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to a rule it passed to advance unprecedented federal control over the U.S. electric grid. Currently, state regulatory bodies determine the most efficient mix of energy sources for their states. FERC's new rule appears to be an unfunded mandate, requiring states to implement “green energy” electricity generation and cover the costs to transition to it.

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Texas, which maintains its own electric grid, filed the complaint, leading a 19-state coalition. It argues FERC's rule exceeds its authority, is arbitrary and capricious and creates an “unjust, unreasonable, and/or unduly discriminatory rates” that violate the Federal Power Act.

The rule is “not supported by reasoned decision-making or explanation and runs counter to the evidence,” the 48-page brief states. FERC issued the rule “attempting to do indirectly what it cannot do directly: usurp the States' exclusive authority over generation choices by adopting planning rules designed to benefit remote renewable generation and renewable developers, and shift billions or trillions of dollars in transmission costs from those developers onto electric consumers,” the coalition argues.

The coalition includes Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, , Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.

At issue is the FERC's May 13, 2024, Order No. 1920, which states, “there is substantial evidence to the conclusion that the existing regional transmission planning and cost allocation processes are unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory or preferential because the Commission's existing transmission planning and cost allocation requirements do not require transmission providers to: (1) perform a sufficiently long-term assessment of transmission needs that identifies Long-Term Transmission Needs; (2) adequately account on a forward looking basis for known determinants of Long-Term Transmission Needs; and (3) consider the broader set of of regional transmission facilities planned to meet those Long-Term Transmission Needs.”

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The order requires states to cover the costs of transitioning regional transmission lines to support “green energy” generation even when doing so doesn't support the state's energy needs and would decrease grid efficiency and reliability, the coalition argues.

In Texas, for example, the regulatory body overseeing the state's grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has repeatedly pointed out that wind and solar power cannot meet energy demands but natural gas does. As temperatures hovered for months at 120 degrees last year, ERCOT issued voluntary conservation appeals while also publishing data showing that low wind generation could not provide a sufficient energy supply. Texas is the world's fifth largest generator of wind power and the U.S. in generating wind energy.

Recognizing the need for reliable non-intermittent energy sources, the Texas legislature, and the majority of voters, approved a plan to invest $5 in constructing mostly natural gas to expand Texas' energy grid reliability. The new program has received an “overwhelming response,” state officials said. By contrast, zero bids were received in Texas in response to federal offshore auctions for roughly 200,000 acres of wind energy leases in the of Mexico. Despite this, the Biden administration is again attempting to auction a second round of offshore wind leases in the Gulf.

The Texas General Land Office has opposed such efforts, refusing to grant any easement to access state-owned submerged land for transmission lines to shore, arguing it's not in Texas' best interest. GLO Commissioner Dawn Buckingham said, “The Biden Administration appears hellbent on force-feeding Americans failed ‘green' policies” and she will “never allow the federal to endanger the people of Texas and our state's beautiful wildlife with untested, unproven, and ineffective technology when reliable, clean, and safe energy is already available,” referring to Texas-produced natural gas.

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Texas leads the U.S. in natural gas production and Texas and Louisiana lead the U.S. in liquified natural gas exports, The Center Square has reported.

The 19-state coalition argues, “FERC has never been granted the authority to revamp the structure of state energy grids or force states and their ratepayers to subsidize large-scale transmission lines that don't transport enough energy to justify the cost. This encroachment upon state authority far exceeds FERC's limited purview and damages the ability of states to regulate their electric grids efficiently, all in the name of advancing costly climate goals.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the president's “attempt to seize unprecedented control over energy production and distribution is a recipe for disaster.” The AGs joined together “to stop his unlawful ‘energy transition' scheme that would drive up energy costs and reduce reliability of the resources our nation needs most to flourish.”

They did so after the former Louisiana attorney general and now governor, Jeff Landry, led a gubernatorial coalition to “unleash domestic energy production.”

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“American energy has done more than any other industry to lift more people out of poverty globally than any other industry that I've known of,” Landry said.

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The Center Square

Mississippi congressman’s field director says ‘don’t miss next time’ | National

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Steve Wilson | The Center Square – 2024-07-13 20:50:00

(The Center Square) – A now-deleted Facebook post by a staffer of Mississippi's lone Democrat congressman appeared to the attempted assassination of former on Saturday.

The deleted post by Jacqueline Marsaw, a field director for U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, said “I don't condone violence but please get you some shooting lessons so you don't miss next time ooops [sic] that wasn't me talking.”

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The Mississippi Republican Party's X account said Thompson should “FIRE his field director for condoning the attempted assassination of President @realDonaldTrump !!!” The post also said Democrats “must repudiate these despicable statements.”

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Trump was wounded in the ear and off the stage Saturday at a rally in Butler, Pa. by U.S. Secret Service agents and other enforcement officers. 

In a post to X after the shooting, Thompson said “There is no room in American democracy for political violence. I am grateful for law enforcement's fast response to this incident. I am glad the former President is safe, and my and prayers go out to everyone involved.”

Thompson is the author of the Denying Infinite Security and Government Resources Allocated toward Convicted and Extremely Dishonorable Former Protectees Act. House Resolution 8081 would strip Secret Service protection for anyone convicted of a state or federal and sentenced to a year or more in prison. 

With Trump already been convicted in May of 34 counts in New York of falsifying business related to hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels, the bill by the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security is clearly aimed at the former president.

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The bill introduced on April 19 has yet to a committee hearing or a floor vote. 

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The Center Square

Tax revenues $181M above estimate | Mississippi

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Steve Wilson | – 2024-07-09 08:00:00

(The Center Square) – Mississippi tax revenues were $181.7 million above the estimate for fiscal 2024, according to data released by the Department of Revenue.

For June, the same release showed collections were $46.9 million more than the presession estimate at $7.7 . This year's total collections at $7.7 billion were $18.4 million more than last year, an increase of 0.24%.

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The state's new fiscal year started July 1. 

This came despite a nearly 6% decrease in collections of the state's income tax. In fiscal 2023, the state collected $2.39 billion versus $2.25 billion this year, a decrease of $141.8 million. For the month of June, receipts were $6.2 million above the estimate at $206.2 million. 

In 2022, Gov. Tate Reeves signed into an income tax cut that gradually reduces the state's graduated bracket system into a 4% flat tax. 

According to the report, sales tax revenues for fiscal 2024 ($2.82 billion) were nearly 3% more than the year prior ($2.73 billion). In June, sales tax receipts ($244 million) were $2.1 million over the estimate. 

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Collections of the state's corporate income tax were down by 6.7%, shrinking from $1.04 billion to $968 million, a decrease of $69.5 million. Collections in June were $8.6 million at $148.5 million. 

Use tax receipts were up by 4.87%, growing from nearly $389 million in fiscal 2023 to $407.9 million in fiscal 2024. The state's use tax is assessed on all out of state sales, online purchases. June collections added up to $33.8 million, $2.1 million greater than the estimate. 

The state's so-called “sin” taxes on tobacco and alcohol, including revenue from the state's wine and liquor warehouse and distribution system, showed a decrease as well, falling by 1.69%. In fiscal 2023, the state took in $262.1 million to $257.7 million this year, a difference of $4.42 million. 

Revenue from the state's gaming tax was also down by 4.3% for the year to date, falling from $162 million to $155 million, a difference of nearly $7 million. In June, gaming collections were $1.6 million greater than the estimate.

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Oil and gas severance taxes also took a dive, falling by 11.66% from $36.4 million to $32.2 million. 

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The Center Square

Federal judge pauses Biden’s partial liquefied natural gas export ban | National

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Dan McCaleb | – 2024-07-01 20:00:00

(The Center Square) – A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked the Biden administration's ban on new exports of liquified natural gas exports to non- trade agreement countries.

Judge James Cain Jr. of the Western District of issued a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Energy's partial LNG export ban after more than a dozen states sued, arguing the ban was illegal.

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“It appears that the DOE's decision to halt the permit approval for entities to export LNG to non-FTA countries is completely without reason or logic and is perhaps the epiphany of ideocracy,” Cain wrote in his ruling.

The ban was put in place, according to the Biden administration, because the exports “no longer adequately account for considerations like potential energy cost increases for American consumers and manufacturers beyond current authorizations or the latest assessment of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.”

After the Department of Energy announced the ban in January, 16 states filed suit, including Louisiana.

“This is great for Louisiana, our 16 partners in this fight, and the entire country,” Louisiana Liz Murrill said in a statement the judge's decision. “As Judge Cain mentioned in his ruling, there is roughly $61 billion dollars of pending infrastructure at risk to our state from this illegal pause. LNG has an enormous and positive impact on Louisiana, supplying clean energy for the entire world, and providing good jobs here at home.”

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Louisiana was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, , Utah, Virginia and Wyoming in the lawsuit. 

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