Last Friday, Duke Energy announced it would not renew its membership with the right-wing trade group the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) because of NAM’s efforts to kill legislation to cap carbon emissions and invest in clean energy. NAM is one of the most aggressive business coalitions opposing legislation to address global warming. NAM has funded groups to deny the science underpinning climate change and has spent millions to derail any move to curb emissions.
Today, NAM hosted an event on Capitol Hill to update staffers on clean energy legislation Waxman-Markey. Asked if they will “modify their approach” on climate change given Duke Energy’s recent departure and the fact that other NAM coalition members are demanding climate change legislation, Keith McCoy, NAM’s Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy, apprehensively denied that NAM has staked out any position:
MCCOY: In terms of Waxman-Markey, I think its clear in anything you’ve read that the NAM hasn’t taken a position whether for or against it … As the legislation evolves, we’ll see. But right now, I don’t think there’s a position that the NAM has taken on the Waxman-Markey bill.
Despite McCoy’s claims of neutrality, the NAM has taken a very public position on Waxman-Markey. The NAM, in a partnership with the major oil industry trade group API, launched an advertising campaign last month using the name “American Energy Alliance.” The ads explicitly tell viewers to call their member of Congress and “Tell him that we can’t afford the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.” Last week, NAM President John Engler appeared as a witness at the GOP mock energy hearing to denounce Waxman-Markey.
Of course, Duke Energy would not split from NAM if the trade group hadn’t “taken a position whether for or against” climate change legislation. Rather, it appears the NAM is attempting to conceal their true position on climate change legislation to deter further defections from its coalition.
The American Energy Alliance is actually not a NAM-API project. It is the c(4) arm of the Institute for Energy Research, a separate right-wing oil-funded front group. In 1993, NAM and API established a front group with the same name — the American Energy Alliance — to block climate reform during the Clinton administration.