ExxonMobil Divorces Itself From ALEC Over Climate Change Policy

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The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is one of those Koch Brothers’ mouthpiece organizations that works tirelessly to promote the hateful vision of America championed by those two wizened old fools for the past 30 years. At the national level, the Kochs prosecute their assault on democracy and a civil society through such captive organizations as the Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Federalist Society. Within the next few weeks, the Kochs will have five seats on the US Supreme Court, which will go a long way toward dismantling the New Deal that has been a thorn in the side of conservatives for the past 85 years.


At the state level, the Kochs use the American Legislative Exchange Council to spread their vile message throughout state legislatures across the country. The process works like this. Charles and David, or one of their dozens of paid puppets, dream up a piece of legislation designed to promote the warped view of the world they fall asleep dreaming about every night.

Chip in a few dollars a month to help support independent cleantech coverage that helps to accelerate the cleantech revolution! Worried about transgender kids using the wrong bathroom? There’s a bill for that. Gay and lesbian rights too much to bear? There’s a bill for that. Punishing pipeline protesters with draconian penalties? Yup, we got a bill for that right here. Want to carry a concealed firearm in Massachusetts because you have a permit from the state of Texas? We can fix you right up. Want to know how to gerrymander your voting districts so conservatives always win? We have the technology you need and will be happy to share it with you. Just ask and we’ll send it right over. How about limiting voting rights for minorities? Easy-peasy. We’ll show you how.

Not surprisingly, the Kochs are not big supporters of climate change action. At the end of June, ExxonMobil let its membership in ALEC lapse. “We review our memberships on an annual basis and this year have decided to discontinue our membership in ALEC, which expired at the end of June,” ExxonMobil spokesperson Scott Silvestri told the press last week. But a report by The Hill claims ExxonMobil was unhappy with a proposal being pushed by ALEC to pressure the EPA to rescind the policy that allows it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal ended up getting scuttled. That’s a big deal. Conservatives Reactionaries have been up in arms ever since the EPA decided it has the power to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant that leads to climate change.

In an e-mail, Kathy Mulvey, fossil fuel accountability campaign director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told CleanTechnica, “ExxonMobil finally responded to demands from our organization and others — including its own shareholders — to break with ALEC over the group’s deceptive tactics. Over the last 20 years, the company has given ALEC more than $1.8 million, part of the $34.6 million it has spent to deceive the public about the reality and seriousness of climate change.

“But the company has a lot more to do to set things straight. It continues to spend a million dollars a year on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which refused as recently as 2014 to acknowledge that global warming is caused by human activity and funded a 2017 report attacking the Paris climate agreement.

“ExxonMobil also is on the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, which in recent months has targeted individuals, groups and communities — including UCS, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and California municipalities — that have gone to court to hold major fossil fuel companies accountable for their contributions to climate change. Other major oil companies, including BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, left ALEC years ago. It’s about time ExxonMobil finally did, too.”

Yes, it took ExxonMobil far too long to alter its position on climate change even a millimeter, but its departure for ALEC is still a positive sign that things are changing — too slowly for some, to be sure, but changing nonetheless.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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