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Columbia Energy Exchange

Short Circuiting Policy

Politics is critical to understanding the development of climate policy in the United States, particularly the interest groups influencing the process and the feedback that new laws and regulations experience once they have been enacted.

That’s what political scientist Leah Stokes tells us in her new book, “Short Circuiting Policy,” whose subtitle is “Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States.”

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Leah about her book and its look at climate policies in different states. The discussion is particularly timely now in the aftermath of a scandal in Ohio, one of the states she writes about in the book.

Bill and Leah delve into the situation in Ohio, where an FBI investigation involving a state law providing aid to struggling nuclear and coal power plants led to the arrest of a prominent state legislator and others in an alleged bribery scheme.

They also discuss the ebb and flow of climate policies in states as utilities and other interest groups vie over proposals to implement policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Leah is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and affiliated with the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and the Environmental Studies Department at UC, Santa Barbara.

She completed her PhD in public policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and a master’s degree from MIT’s Political Science Department. Before that, she earned an MPA in environmental science and policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Earth Institute, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and East Asian studies at the University of Toronto.

She’s also worked at the Canadian Parliament and the think tank Resources for the Future.

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