ALEC Continues Attack on Renewable Energy Policies to Keep America Addicted to Fossil Fuels
Let’s talk about the real obstacle to fighting climate change in America: ALEC. Today, ALEC—the American Legislative Exchange Council—kicks off its annual meeting in Dallas, TX. The group, which has already brought America such favorites as stand-your-ground-shoot-first laws and voter suppression ID laws, now has its sights set on preventing clean energy policies from spreading across the U.S.
ALEC gets a lot of its funding from Big Oil and utility corporations, so it’s only natural that it would be working feverishly to craft "model legislation" that continues America’s toxic—and deadly—addiction to fossil fuels. Over the past decade alone, ALEC has received more than $500,000 from Big Oil-friendly Koch Brothers-backed foundations, and millions more from Big Oil giants like ExxonMobil.
Chris Taylor, a Democratic lawmaker from Wisconsin who snuck into ALEC’s annual meeting in Chicago last year, said, “A part of ALEC’s battle is to preserve an old economy, where coal, oil and gas remain supreme. Their defense of these industries represents the will of corporate members.”
And Nick Surgey, research director for the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch, told Think Progress that, “According to the meeting agenda, legislators will be schooled on how industry wants them to talk about climate change.” He went on to say that there will be a heavy focus on the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations, and that corporate lobbyists from ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries will be crafting model legislation that opposes limiting carbon emissions from coal plants.
Conference goers will hear from climate-change-denying all-stars like Texas Governor Rick Perry, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, and former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain. They’ll also be getting a copy of the most recent “report” from the NIPCC—the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. The NIPCC is funded by the Heartland Institute, one of the major players in climate change denial, and a group which has compared people who believe in climate change to the Unabomber.
ALEC’s push to protect Big Oil interests and to sabotage clean energy policies isn’t something new. It’s been a major goal of the secretive organization for a while now. According to documents obtained by The Guardian, last year alone, ALEC pushed 70 bills in 37 states that would have hurt clean energy growth and development.
ALEC-crafted legislation has also played a major role in the battles between solar power customers and utility companies in Arizona over the past year, and also led to a Republican state lawmaker in Kansas being kicked out of that state’s Chamber of Commerce because he opposed ALEC-backed legislation that was intended to weaken Kansas’ renewable energy standards.
ALEC is also behind bills in several states that would require schools to teach climate change denial as part of their curriculum. In January of last year alone, ALEC successfully got its “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” into the Colorado, Arizona and Oklahoma state legislatures. And some states, like Louisiana, have already adopted similar versions of that legislation.
While ALEC has been around for nearly 40 years, recent Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have put the group's ability to influence or essentially own Republican lawmakers on steroids. Thanks to the Supreme Court-created ideas that "money is speech" and "corporations are people," ALEC has gained tremendous power, and it’s using that power to sabotage us and the only planet we can call home.
The conservative lawmakers and corporate shills who make up ALEC are the very people keeping us from developing the clean and green energy policies that are essential for the survival of our planet and the human race. As Dale Eisman, director of communications for Common Cause, put it, “Whatever the issue—labor, schools, climate or energy—they [ALEC] are drafting bills to advance corporate interests that don’t necessarily coincide with the public interest.”
If want to have any chance of saving the human race from the greatest threat it has ever faced, then we need to start putting public interests ahead of corporate interests, and the only way we can do that is by getting money out of politics. We need to amend the Constitution, to say that money is not speech, and that corporations are not people. The future of our planet depends on it. Go to movetoamend.org to learn all about it.
You Might Also Like
By James O'Hare
There are 20 million people in the world facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. In developed nations, too, people go hungry. Venezuela, for instance, is enduring food insecurity on a national level as a result of economic crisis and political corruption. In the U.S., the land of supposed excess, 12.7 percent of households were food insecure in 2015, meaning they didn't know where their next meal would come from.
Artists are taking the climate crisis into frame and the results are emotional, beautiful and stirring.
So you've seen the best climate change cartoons and shared them with your friends. You've showed your family the infographics on climate change and health, infographics on how the grid works and infographics about clean, renewable energy. You've even forwarded these official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphs that explain the 10 clear indicators of climate change to your colleagues at the office.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.
A coalition of conservation groups and others announced Thursday that a historic number of comments and petitions of support have been submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of Bears Ears National Monument. Despite the entirely inadequate 15-day comment period ending on May 26, more than 685,000 comments in support of Bears Ears National Monument have been collected.