On a one-hour call with ALEC members in late February, former Utah state representative Ken Ivory claimed that each directive in the president’s January executive order on climate action unduly entrenched federal power and stripped authority from the states. He surfaced fears that Biden will declare a national “climate emergency” that “unlocks more than 130 unilateral executive actions.” (It’s unclear how Ivory, who did not respond to Grist’s request for comment, arrived at that figure.) Ivory also faulted the Democratic administration for promoting climate-focused policies within federal agencies through executive orders, rather than routing all proposals through Congress.
“We’re seeing something that they’re identifying as a new age in climate federalism,” Ivory said.
The call was the first of two that have taken place so far as part of ALEC’s new Functional Federalism Working Group, which exists separately from a longstanding ALEC task force on federalism and international relations. The new group hasn’t been publicized on the ALEC website beyond two brief mentions in blog posts penned by Ivory. Its name suggests that the group is meant to redress what Ivory described as an imbalance of power between Biden’s presidency and state governments, a majority of which are dominated by conservatives.