Research / Energy & Environment


SLC Regional Resource | April 2019

Weathering the Storm: Assessing the Agricultural Impact of Hurricane Michael

Anne Roberts Brody, Policy Analyst

Note: Since the release of this report on April 15, 2019, Hurricane Michael was retroactively upgraded to a Category 5 storm.

Hurricane Michael roared onto the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018. A Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour — just shy of the 157 miles per hour necessary to be classified a Category 5 storm — it was the third strongest hurricane to strike the United States mainland. As Michael moved northeast across Alabama and Georgia, the hurricane’s fierce winds, towering storm surge and punishing rain caused billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure in the Southern region.

For farmers in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, the timing of the storm could not have been worse. Just as harvest season for many vegetable and row crops was beginning, like a plague of locusts, Michael devoured nearly every farm in its path. This SLC Regional Resource, current as of April 15, 2019, reviews the agricultural impact of Hurricane Michael on Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Across the three states, cotton and timber were hardest hit, but damage to other agricultural products and infrastructure was equally devastating.


Policy Analysis | March 2019

Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals

Anne Roberts Brody, Policy Analyst

The Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) from Electric Utilities final rule was signed on December 19, 2014, and published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2015. The rule finalized federal regulations to provide a comprehensive set of requirements for the safe disposal of CCRs, commonly known as coal ash, from coal-fired power plants.

On July 26, 2016, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a direct final rule and a companion proposal to extend the compliance deadlines for certain inactive CCR surface impoundments. These revisions were in response to a partial vacatur ordered by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 14, 2016. The direct final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 5, 2016, and became effective October 4, 2016.

Since 2016, there have been 52 legislative measures addressing CCRs in seven Southern states. The majority came from Virginia, with 17 pieces of legislation introduced. Meanwhile, Georgia introduced 11 pieces of legislation, North Carolina 10 and Missouri eight. Alabama, South Carolina and Texas also considered legislation related to CCRs.

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Other | January 2019

Issues to Watch - 2019

Anne Roberts Brody, Cody Allen and Roger Moore

As the 2019 legislative cycle begins, legislators across the South are preparing and pre-filing legislation to address emerging and relevant policy issues in their states. With its regional focus, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) is uniquely positioned to research and identify current and emerging policy issues and trends. This report was prepared by SLC policy analysts Anne Roberts Brody, Cody Allen and Roger Moore as a snapshot of issues and trends that are anticipated to emerge during the 2019 legislative term.

This report previews current and emerging trends that have been identified under the purview of the SLC’s six standing committees, which are relevant to poli­cymakers across the South. The Agriculture and Rural Development preview discusses industrial hemp cultivation and the struggles of rural hospitals, while the Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs preview considers occupational licensing regulations and the funding of transportation and state infrastructure. In Education policy, teacher pay legislation and school counseling are trends to watch for the 2019 legislative term, while the management of coal combustion residuals — commonly referred to as coal ash — is an important emerging issue in the Energy and Environment arena. The Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations preview compares online sales tax legislation in the wake of the South Dakota v. Wayfair decision, and the Human Services and Public Safety preview examines balance billing policy at both the state and federal level.

2018-2019 Chair

Senator
Ed Emery

Missouri

Representative Jim Gooch Jr., Kentucky
2018-2019 Vice Chair

Representative
Jim Gooch Jr.

Kentucky

Immediate Past Chair

Representative
Lynn Smith

Georgia

Anne Roberts Brody
Committee Liaison

Anne
Roberts Brody

Policy Analyst


The SLC Energy & Environment Committee considers issues related to the abundant natural resources of Southern states and the instrumental role they play in the growth and development of the region. In sustaining economic development, meeting growing energy needs, and maintaining the South’s high quality of life, states are increasingly recognizing the need to forge energy and environmental policies that ensure sound stewardship of the region’s resources and the economy of the region. Recent issues examined include the expansion of wind energy production in Southern states; waste tire disposal laws; interstate groundwater disputes; and the implications of federal energy and environment policies on the states.

More SLC research into Energy & Environment


SLC Special Series Report | October 2018

Blown Away: Wind Energy in the Southern States (Part III)

SLC Special Series Report | January 2018

Blown Away: Wind Energy in the Southern States (Part II)

SLC Special Series Report | May 2017

Blown Away: Wind Energy in Southern States (Part 1)

SLC Regional Resource | February 2015

SLC State Efforts to Rebuild the Coastline

SLC Regional Resource | December 2014

Charging Forward: Net Metering Policies in SLC States

Policy Analysis | May 2011

Natural Gas Recovery and "Hydrofracking"

Policy Analysis | April 2011

Nuclear Safety in a Post-Fukushima World

SLC Regional Resource | June 2010

Creating Value: Recycling in the Southern States

SLC Regional Resource | January 2008

Landfill Gas to Fuel

SLC Regional Resource | October 2000

The War over Water