From December 3-5, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), will be in Washington, D.C. for its annual policy summit. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, part of that policy will be dedicated to gutting the EPA.
According to Aliya Haq, the climate change special projects director for the NRDC, ALEC “will actually be escalating its attacks on environmental safeguards” despite the fact that it lost a significant amount of member companies and public face for pursuing such an anti-environmental agenda.
Founded in 1979, ALEC is a non-governmental organization composed of policymakers and business leaders, whose membership includes 2,000 state legislators and almost 300 corporate and private individuals. Each year, it helps to shape 1,000 pieces of model legislation, 20 percent of which eventually become laws. The NGO has also not-so-secretly dedicated itself to climate denial in the interest of its many fossil fuel-based donors.
In 2014, this dedication has cost it several high-profile member companies. In August, Microsoft publicly acknowledged that it was leaving the organization and would no longer provide financial support of any kind. CNET tied this decision to ALEC’s opposition to renewable energy projects, which Microsoft has begun to seriously invest in.
That move did not stir nearly as many waves as when Google left the organization in September. During an appearance on the Diane Rehm Show, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that Google had cut ties with ALEC over its views on climate change and that they company “should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying.” This prompted Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, Uber and Lyft to also break away from ALEC or publicly acknowledge that they would let their membership expire.
Later that month, the fourth largest oil company in America, Occidental Petroleum, also announced that it was leaving ALEC. In November, SAP, a multinational software company, left the corporate board of the organization, citing climate change as a factor. They have now joined the ranks of Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America and Proctor & Gamble of companies that want to have nothing to do with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
If this mass exodus has bothered ALEC, it certainly hasn’t changed its mind. Aliya Haq recently told Salon that the organization is on a mission to cut EPA funding by 75 percent and replace the agency with 300 state agency employees, “even though,” as Salon points out, “the entire point of having the EPA is because pollution extends beyond state boundaries.”
“All this goes to show that ALEC only represents dirty energy,” said Haq. “ALEC is not working for the millions of people who would save money on their electric bills through [the Clean Power Plan], they’re not working for the hundreds of thousands of new clean energy jobs that would emerge from these plans — ALEC’s ultimate goal here is to block any action on climate change.”