Quantcast

Virginians Pressure Dominion to Dump ALEC

Business

There was a time when membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council aka ALEC was a plus for large corporations. The organization, which claims to be a nonprofit advocacy group but functions more like a lobbying group, writes so-called "model legislation" designed to favor business interests over all other interests, including the environment.

Protestors gather outside ALEC's Arlington, VA office to draw attention to its work on behalf of polluters. Photo credit: Caroline Wood/Oceana

But that was when ALEC's activities were shrouded in secrecy. In the last several years, as they've gotten more publicity, membership has become a liability–and dozens of companies have dropped out, including biggies like CocaCola, Pepsi, Amazon, GE, McDonald's and Hewlett-Packard.

Activists want Virginia utility Dominion Resources to follow them. Yesterday, about 80 clean energy advocates gathered outside ALEC's Arlington, Virginia offices to draw attention to its work on behalf of polluters and to give Dominion Resources the sort of attention it probably doesn't want.

According to a Greenpeace blog, customers often have no choice other than Dominion due to market monopolization, and protestors want the company to stop investing the money they make from customers to fight against clean energy measures.

"Dumping ALEC is a basic gesture that utilities like Dominion and Duke Energy can make to show they're beginning to take climate change seriously," said Greenpeace's Connor Gibson. "Any utility claiming to acknowledge climate science or support clean energy undermines itself by bankrolling ALEC's interference on these issues."

Ahead of the protest, Alexandria mayor Bill Euille penned an editorial that appeared on the Fairfax (VA) Times last week. In it, he said:

 In working to head off the many dangers of global warming, we need the cooperation of everybody affected.  We must not permit our future well-being to be held hostage by fossil fuel companies and interests with a vested interest in maintaining the dangerous, unsustainable status quo. That means we must push back hard against groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization which has expressly opposed the EPA’s effort to curb carbon pollution from power plants as well as renewable energy while promoting dirty fossil fuels.

Sad to say, but one of the members (and funders) of that organization is Dominion Virginia Power, not coincidentally the largest emitter of carbon pollution in Virginia. In my personal opinion, Dominion Virginia Power should take a leadership role in mitigating climate change impacts by focusing on systematically replacing its coal-fired power plants with those using cleaner fuels and/or progressively installing new power sources using renewable energy.

Euille urged citizens to participate in yesterday's rally, where he spoke, along with a roster of speakers from sponsoring groups like Climate Progress, Black Youth Project, Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch and Oceana. Progress VA and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network were also sponsors.

Alexandria Virginia Mayor Bill Euille speaks to protestors outside ALEC headquarters in Arlington, VA. Photo credit: Caroline Wood/Oceana

Virginia Sierra Club chair Ivy Main, who is also a member of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's Climate Commission said, “ALEC works in the shadows to get its agenda through state legislatures, using the money and influence of corporate members like Dominion Resources. ALEC's agenda is anti-EPA, anti-clean energy, anti-consumer, and anti-worker. And because the only ones who can block the ALEC agenda are the people, ALEC is also anti-voting rights. ALEC is not an organization any public utility should belong to, and Dominion's customers deserve better. Dominion should quit ALEC now.”

ALEC serves as a front for dirty energy companies, working in state legislatures to attack incentives for clean energy, including freezing  or repealing renewable energy standards as it did in Ohio and penalizing homeowners who install solar panels as it did in Arizona.

Greenpeace has pushed ALEC to explain how blocking clean energy while promoting incentives for fossil fuel interests is in line with its so-called "free market" strategy. 

"ALEC staff have not been able to account for the contradiction," says Greenpeace.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Why 6 Utilities Quietly Dumped ALEC and Others Won’t Even Speak of the Lobbying Group

Why ALEC Said ‘No Thanks’ to Renewable Energy Members

ALEC Continues Attack on Renewable Energy Policies to Keep America Addicted to Fossil Fuels

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on May 29, 2012. MANDEL NGAN / AFP / GettyImages

John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion granting environmental agencies the power to regulate greenhouse gases, died Tuesday at the age of 99. His decision gave the U.S. government important legal tools for fighting the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule on June 19, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have reduced coal-fired plant carbon emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Twitter

By Elliott Negin

On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest. Dyan Bone / Forest Service / Southwestern Region / Kaibab National Forest

By Tara Lohan

If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.

Read More Show Less
Somalians fight against hunger and lack of water due to drought as Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar (not seen) visits the a camp near the Mogadishu's rural side in Somalia on March 25, 2017. Sadak Mohamed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Eduardo Velev cools off in the spray of a fire hydrant during a heatwave on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images

By Adrienne L. Hollis

Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.

Read More Show Less
Senator Graham returns after playing a round of golf with Trump on Oct. 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Ron Sachs – Pool / Getty Images

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.

Read More Show Less
A small Bermuda cedar tree sits atop a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. todaycouldbe / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Marlene Cimons

Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.

Read More Show Less