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Published on May 11th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Today, ALEC Hosts Legislators & Big Oil — Topic? Undermining Clean Energy

May 11th, 2012 by  

This is a story I’ve yet to chime in about — one reason for that is that it’s so darn depressing. How do these people live with themselves?

Luckily, Susan had a great post on it yesterday, and here’s a great post from Rebecca Leber of Climate Progress to follow up on that:

alec renewable energyToday, behind closed doors in Charlotte, North Carolina, legislators from 15 states will meet with the oil and gas industry to discuss so-called “model legislation” as part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The result could be laws that handicap renewable energy targets — while creating loopholes for fossil fuels, written directly by the oil and gas industry itself.

ALEC has faced backlash recently for its role in crafting Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. Now the organization is taking the same secretive approach to kill renewable energy developmentacross the country.

Oil and gas corporations have a very strong role in politics through groups like Americans For Prosperity, American Petroleum Institute, and, of course, ALEC. Four of the largest oil and gas corporations and two of the most profitable U.S. corporations overall, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP, sit on ALEC’s task forces. And so today, according to documents posted by Common Cause, representatives from these and other energy groups will discuss potential legislation that would undermine clean energy standards and limit regulations of polluting industries.

The agenda items illustrate ALEC’s objectives. An economist from the oil lobby American Petroleum Institute leads a discussion on oil and gas prices, and a few of the panels include, “The Dirty Truth Behind Reusable Bags” and “Resolution Supporting a Reasonable Compliance Timeline and Economywide Impact Study of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Rule.” Peabody Energy — one of the largest coal companies in the world — will give the presentation on “Regulation Through Litigation Of Greenhouse Gases Is Unsound Public Policy.”

ALEC already benefits from special exemption from some state laws: For example, South Carolina, Indiana, and Colorado have specifically exempted ALEC from lobbying status.

The oil industry’s astroturfing does not end with ALEC. Heartland Institute, part of the consortium of ultra-conservative think tanks leading a broad attack on clean energy, will also speak at ALEC’s meeting. Americans For Prosperity, funded by money from the Koch brothers, is also involved in Big Oil’s PR campaign against clean energy.

We have already seen oil dominating election ad spending this year, with well over $24 millionspent by groups like Americans for Prosperity and American Energy Alliance since January. More than 80 percent of election year attack ads have focused on energy — all of themthoroughly debunked.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Captivation

    It gets worse. Take a look at their sponsor list and there are some well known names. For me Amazon and Ebay were the shockers because I buy from them and imagined them to be reasonably wise about protecting their public image.

    Amazon has been easy to replace, but I’m not familiar with any auction sites that still compete with Ebay. If anyone has any suggestions it is appreciated.


    • Bob_Wallace

      Contact the companies with whom you do business and express your displeasure.

      ALEC (and Limbaugh) have been loosing income because people have complained to advertisers.

      Make it clear that you are going to take your business elsewhere and attempt to get others to do the same as long as they support organizations that produce harm.

      • Captivation

        Great suggestions on how to battle the situation.
        But with a name like Wallace, who would expect otherwise? 🙂 I will follow your advice !


        • Bob_Wallace

          Well, I can’t trace my family back to William. And as your site states it’s not know if William had any children. (After having Mel portray him, I’m not that eager to make that link.)

          However, my grandfather’s name was Stirling – William defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. And our family has been traced back to King David I of Scotland.

          So, heed my words…. ;o)

          On a more serious note, companies do not want to be associated with controversial issues if possible.

          Here’s an online petition you can sign.

          Starve the beast….

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