Republicans, famous for living in the past (except when it doesn’t suit their brazen self-dealing), are living up to their reputation. Legislators in the state of Wyoming “created a $1.2m fund to be used by Wyoming’s governor to take legal action against other states that opt to power themselves with clean energy such as solar and wind, in order to meet targets to tackle the climate crisis, rather than burn Wyoming’s coal.” I’m sure taxpayers are thrilled.
No, really. Donald Trump won a hair under 70% of the vote in Wyoming in the 2020 presidential election (not that that’s a terribly meaningful statistic given that Wyoming has over a hundred thousand fewer people than Washington, D.C. — surely the Trump zealots need somewhere to live). At any rate, Wyoming’s stupid law, in their own words, shows that the state is “prepared to bring litigation to protect her interests.” Right. What this can only mean is that Wyoming has three clear interests: (1) destroying the environment, (2) being litigious, and (3) making a mockery of herself.
Because the first and last are so obvious, let’s focus on the second one. Could Wyoming sue other states for not buying its coal in lieu of renewable energy options? Absolutely. You can always sue. The more interesting question: could Wyoming win any such lawsuit? No. Not a chance.
As The Guardian points out, there is a perfectly constitutional way for states to avoid buying coal from any other state (pursuant to the Commerce Clause). In essence, all a state needs to do is ban coal purchases generally and avoid singling out any one state that would provide coal or once provided coal to the state banning it.
But this doesn’t really seem like it’s entirely about buying coal, does it? To me, this law seems much more like a reflection or extension of the Right’s culture war and broader “good ol’ days” narrative. “You want to ban coal because you’re concerned about the environment and public health? You’re a communist snowflake! I’m gonna sue you!” It’s effete, it’s embarrassing, and it’s the pouty state equivalent of beating your fists against a table because your older sister ate the last Hot Pocket and damnit that was your Hot Pocket. Since when do Republicans want entitlements?
This, like so many other things you’ve seen in the news since President Biden took office, is evidence that the GOP is a sputtering mess. Its nonexistent plans, hollow manifesto, and at-best one-dimensional purpose leave it with little else besides angrily typing the red-faced emoji while the Democrats and President Biden restore the US’s heart and soul and win over moderates in the process.