Renewable Energy and Alexander Hamilton

The blog dated February 12, 2012, noted that state renewable portfolio statutes discriminate against out-of-state sources.  These state actions are, of course, doubly anti-state:  They aim their arrows at other states; and they invite federal preemption, by federal statutes or by the Commerce Clause, or both.  While their authors defend the provisions as necessary to get laws passed, the blog saw more long-term harm than good, to anyone or anything—labor, renewable energy, the environment and states themselves.

The problem is as old as our nation.  Here's what Alexander Hamilton wrote, in The Federalist Papers No. 22:  "The interfering and unneighborly regulations of some States, contrary to the true spirit of the Union, have, in different instances, given just cause of umbrage and complaint to others, and it is feared that examples of this nature, if not restrained by a national control, would be multiplied and extended till they became not less serious sources of animosity and discord than injurious impediments to the intercourse between the different parts of the Confederacy."

There is great collegiality and respect, professional and personal, among politicians and regulators from our 50 states.  I see it in my clients, at conferences, everywhere.  If those positive relationships can extend to the legislative process, the states' common goals, and our nation, will benefit.

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