Amid discussions by the Biden administration to reduce fossil fuel usage through the Inflation Reduction Act, Republican-controlled states have taken a stand against liberal cities’ radical climate policies. States such as Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota have recently passed laws that prevent cities from banning natural gas hookups. These states join twenty others with Republican governance that have enacted “preemption laws” to prohibit municipal bans on natural gas in new buildings, aiming to protect businesses and consumers.
Idaho’s recent measure blocks local governments from imposing additional restrictions on energy efficiency codes. Similarly, Texas lawmakers passed a law to prevent cities from adopting their own climate policies. These preemptive laws come as Democrat-controlled cities and states like Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles have placed limits on natural gas usage in new residential homes to combat climate change. New York even passed a law banning gas and fossil fuels in most new buildings.
Environmentalists express dissatisfaction with these preemption laws, arguing that they silence the voice of residents who elected local governments committed to climate action. However, Republican legislators believe these laws are necessary and protect individual choices in the free market. North Dakota state Representative Glenn Bosch highlights that such bills safeguard the right of individuals and businesses to choose their preferred energy sources.
In August 2022, the United States Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a $739 billion spending plan Democrats claim will address climate change. The bill, passed along party lines with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, raises taxes for most individuals, despite President Biden’s earlier promise not to raise taxes on those earning less than $400,000. Furthermore, the Act significantly expands the size of the IRS and creates tens of thousands of new IRS agent positions.
Conservative legislators view the preemptive laws enacted by Republican-controlled states as crucial for protecting individual freedoms and the free market. They argue that citizens should have the choice to determine their preferred energy sources, without excessive government interference. While some criticize these laws for limiting local government autonomy, Republicans believe they are necessary to prevent potential harm to businesses and consumers. Additionally, conservatives express concerns about the extensive spending and tax increases outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act, which they believe may have adverse effects on the economy and individual taxpayers.