Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

*Editor's note: This article was updated at 12:50 p.m. with new information.*

After writing letters to nine utility companies that have supported the anti-science, environmental attack campaign waged by a secretive lobbying group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Greenpeace has directly confirmed at least six large U.S. utility companies have ceased supporting the secretive lobbying group in recent years:

  • MidAmerian Energy Holdings Company (MEHC)
  • PacifiCorp—a MEHC subsidiary with distinct ALEC membership as of 2011
  • NV Energy—now a MEHC subsidiary with distinct ALEC membership as of 2011
  • Alliant Energy
  • PG&E
  • Ameren– confirmed at shareholder meeting last week

As ALEC begins its 2014 Spring Task Force Summit in Kansas City, MO, this isn't great news for Corporate America's Trojan Horse in our Statehouses. Last year, ALEC experienced a $1.3 million budget shortfall from an exodus of its corporate members in recent years.

Some of the nation's largest utilities have quietly distanced themselves from the secretive, climate-denying lobbying group. Graphic credit: ALEC

None of these five utilities made any commitment whatsoever to maintain disassociation from ALEC. Instead, they all defended their self-stated commitments to climate and clean energy policies, which Greenpeace's letters referenced and juxtaposed against ALEC's ongoing work to deny climate change science and undermine climate change solutions like renewable energy policies that create jobs and stimulate local economies.

Independent of ALEC, some of these companies continue to resist commonsense clean energy incentives, such as net metering for distributed solar generation. The democratization of electricity production poses a serious threat to monopolistic utility companies, and rather than working to innovate during this massive shift in the energy economy, many utilities are digging in their heels. In the long run, that will not likely turn out to be a wise choice; even King Coal's top lobbyists admits that the industry is outdated, comparing coal's latest pollution control technology to the irrelevant "bag phone" technology of yesteryear.

Several Dirty Utility Companies Won't Talk About ALEC

Four utilities refused to respond to Greenpeace after over two months of repeated outreach through phone, email and fax, indicating how toxic ALEC's brand is even to some of the nation's polluters:

  • Dominion Resources in Richmond, VA
  • Ameren in St. Louis, MO
  • NiSource in Merrillville, IN
  • Arizona Public Service (and holding company Pinnacle West Capital) in Phoenix, AZ

APS rejoined ALEC after a brief eight-month breakup. Perhaps ALEC's clear intent to impose taxes and fees on people and small businesses installing solar panels on their rooftops wooed APS back into its dirty ranks, since APS coordinated with other Koch-funded front groups to run ads promoting fees for solar net metering. APS executives have refused to communicate with Greenpeace.

The nation's largest utility company, Duke Energy, has also refused to discuss ALEC after internal ALEC documents published by The Guardian indicated that Duke's membership lapsed when it merged with Progress Energy. Notes indicated that Duke was simply pausing amid the merger to assign new lobbyists to work with ALEC. In 2012, more than 150,000 people asked Duke to leave ALEC. ALEC has helped Duke block regulations on its toxic coal ash dumps, fought clean energy incentives and disfranchise legitimate American voters.

It's worth noting that all of these utilities can still have proxy involvement in ALEC's dirty work through their membership in the power sector's top trade association, Edison Electric Institute. EEI pays to participates in ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force. ALEC's previous director for its energy and anti-environmental initiatives, climate change denier Todd Wynn, is now Director of External Affairs at EEI.

EEI, ALEC and the utility companies they represent are all engaged in heated battles against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's pending rules for power plants to reduce their carbon emissions, and political attacks on residents and businesses that install small-scale solar arrays and sell extra electricity back to utility companies.

These contemporary fights are consistent with the decades-long use of ALEC by dirty energy giants to deny the science of climate change and oppose any policy solutions to global warming.

ALEC Opens Meeting in Kansas City

Starting today, ALEC meets in Kansas City, MO for its 2014 Spring Task Force Summit, where corporate lobbyists and state legislators will vote in secret on new model bills. Legislators will then return to the states to implement ALEC's Big Business wishlist.

Check out this fresh report on ALEC's impact in Kansas and Missouri in recent years, from Progress Missouri and other groups participating in the "Stand Up To ALEC" initiative.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

ALEC-Affiliated Legislators Launch Premature Attacks on Carbon Pollution Limits

How Arizona Could Soon Tax Thousands of Residents For Going Solar

ALEC Calls for ‘Guerilla Warfare’ in Weakening Carbon Emissions Standards

——–

Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The coal-fired Huaneng Power Plant in Huai 'an City, Jiangsu Province, China on Sept. 13, 2020. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic was the record drop in greenhouse gas emissions following national lockdowns. But that drop is set to all but reverse as economies begin to recover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A grizzly bear killed an outdoor guide in a rare attack near Yellowstone Park. William Campbell / Corbis / Getty Images

A backcountry guide has died after being mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

Read More Show Less
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) re-introduces the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In the latest of a flurry of proposed Green New Deal legislation, Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday introduced the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021, a $1 trillion plan to "tackle the environmental injustices that are making us and our children sick, costing us our homes, and destroying our planet."

Read More Show Less
Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

Read More Show Less