Green energy laws and Republican legislators in the United States
The policy context for green energy laws in the United States has changed over the past few years, because the Republican Party has increasingly opposed renewable electricity and other green energy policies. In this study, we draw on a database of 6071 votes on RPS (renewable portfolio standards) and PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy) laws by individual state legislators in the United States to examine the circumstances shaping Republican votes for green energy laws from 2007–2011. We find that votes on these laws are indeed increasingly partisan, with Republicans supporting RPS laws especially less than Democrats. However, Republicans’ support for these laws is higher in states with weaker fossil fuel industries. Furthermore, Republicans tend to support the laws where median household income is lower, environmental organizations are weaker, labor-environmental coalitions are absent, and the proportion of Democrats in the legislature is lower, suggesting a reactive effect against green energy policies in more progressive settings.