ALEC Loses Two Big Names In Clean Power Over Opposition To Renewable Energy Standards

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a “stealth business lobbyist,” according to the New York Times. It has been bleeding corporate and business members over the last year due to controversial legislation it has promoted on issues ranging from voter suppression to minimum wage laws.

ALEC often acts as a kind of factory for template legislation enacting right-wing policy priorities, and the bills then show up in state legislatures — often pushed by state-level lawmakers who are themselves ALEC’s members. They’ve included bills to repeal minimum wage laws, dismantle unions, undo capital gains and estate taxes, get rid of paid sick days, increase obstacles to voting, and even push the “stand your ground” laws made infamous by the death of Trayvon martin.

Thanks to bad press over the last two efforts in particular, companies as prominent as General Electric,, Coca-Cola, and Walmart have abandoned the group, for a total of at least 37 departures as of August 2012 — though others such as ExxonMobile and Koch Industries remain loyal.

Now, as E&E News reports, ALEC’s oppositional stance on renewable energy policy has lost it two big names in renewable energy as well. The Solar Energy Industries Association allowed its membership to expire last fall, and the American Wind Energy Association dropped out earlier this month:

The American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association joined the industry-backed coalition for a year because they wanted a “seat at the table” to discuss hot energy issues, said AWEA spokesman Peter Kelley.

But the groups decided to drop out after ALEC adopted the “Electricity Freedom Act” model bill in October, which would end requirements that utilities generate a set amount of electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. SEIA allowed its one-year membership to expire last fall, and AWEA dropped out earlier this month.

SEIA’s decision to drop out was also fueled by ALEC’s refusal to take up a SEIA proposal to ease permitting costs for distributed generation, said Carrie Cullen-Hitt, a senior vice president for the solar industry group. “We didn’t get very far with that,” Cullen-Hitt said.

Now, AWEA is warning state lawmakers not to be taken in by ALEC’s message, one that Kelley said is driven by fossil fuel companies. He pointed out that conservative think tank and climate skeptic Heartland Institute told The Washington Post last year that it had joined ALEC to write language to revise state renewable energy mandates in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The state renewable energy standards the Electricity Freedom Act would undo require utilities to produce a defined portion of their energy from wind, solar, and other renewable sources. Those requirements have driven the advancement of clean energy economies and lower carbon emissions throughout the United States, resulting in cost savings, new investment, and new jobs.

ALEC pushed the EFA in the same manner as its previous pieces of legislation — setting up a model bill which was then championed by scattered lawmakers and lobbyists in state legislatures around the country. The group’s other efforts in the environmental arena have encompassed attempts to torpedo state-level adoption of carbon pricing, to encourage states to turn over public lands to private ownership for oil and gas extraction, to water down laws requiring disclosure about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, to block regulation of toxic coal ash specifically, and to gum up the Environmental Protection Agency’s moves to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in general.

But despite all this, states are still moving forward to fight global warming: California went from a 20 percent standard by 2010 to a 33 percent standard by 2020, which it’s currently on track to meet. Colorado increased its standard twice since 2004, rising from 10 percent to 30 percent by 2020. And New York went from a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2013, to 30 percent by 2015.

“There are 29 states that have renewable portfolio standards,” Bill Gupton, an outreach director at Consumers Against Rate Hikes, told E&E News. “And it’s my understanding that ALEC is targeting each one.”

13 Responses to ALEC Loses Two Big Names In Clean Power Over Opposition To Renewable Energy Standards

  1. dam spahn says:

    Talk about suckers. Did these two outfits think, in their wildest dreams, that two OIL MEN would give renewable energy a fair hearing? ALEC exists for one reason, to turn the sick ideas of the Koch brothers into law.

  2. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    ALEC is the tool of the few to make slaves of the many. They want us to “Look down, look down, don’t look them in the eye”

  3. D. R. Tucker says:

    We’ll talk to author John Englander about his timely book, “High Tide on Main Street–Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis”. He’ll tell us what we can expect over the coming months, years and decade along our coastlines. In our second segment we’ll look at what the tide is washing up on beaches…plastic. You’ll meet Judith and Richard Lang who’ve spent 15 years curating trash, making art out of plastic debris and sending a graphic message about our wasteful ways and how garbage doesn’t go ‘away’.

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  4. Fiona Mackenzie says:

    ALEC has political control of 24 or 25 states where Republicans control both legislative bodies and have the governor. Those state cannot recover from what is happening there–even a political reversal cannot replace the state’s resources and public lands and destroyed beauty.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The ALEC tentacle of the Kochtopus has spread its influence to Australia. The ‘Liberal’ (what a misnomer!) Senator, Cory Bernardi, a far, far, far Right zealot who last year compared the legalising of gay marriage to legalising bestiality (he has numerous other, similar, prejudices, and is quite illustrative of the new wave of Rightwing extremists here, and elsewhere in the Anglosphere)is an ‘international delegate’ for ALEC, but kept it a little secret. Madness is on the march, just like the 1930s, all over again.

  6. Solar Jim says:

    See the new video narrated by Bill Moyers from Common Cause: The United States of ALEC. Also, ALEC national chair is reported to be a member of the Connecticut legislature, which is considering the Democratic governor’s push for fossil methane (aka natural gas) pipeline buildout and end-use conversions (from oil) via new multi-billion dollar tax and rate surcharges.

  7. lizardo says:

    I’ve been looking into the wacky rationale for ALEC’s model bill (EFA) ever since I read it could be introduced here in NC.

    ALEC’s bottom line: renewable energy = more expensive = a regressive tax and (hilarious) forces people to use renewable energy (“waiter, there’s some spinach on my dead rat!”).

    This is all buttressed with a solemn study tailor made for your state and run through (in some cases) a friendly local koch-funded/pro-biz/whatever think tank. You can find links to those studies in a loathesome article here:

    You can download the bill here, but head vise advised:

    And lastly, but not leastly, the helpful WaPo has an article that includes clues to just how rigged that “study”/studies is/are about those present and future high prices.

    As I emailed (and much more) to my state rep yesterday, the current 3% RE mandated (purchased) goes into a fuel factor which is only part of rates we pay, the big hikes come from building new nukes, coal & gas plants.

  8. DanB says:

    The Fossil Fuel / Superior People behemoths are thrashing about as they will in an attempt to survive. They don’t like survival-of-the-fittest or real Capitalism when they’re on their last legs.

    Clean energy is gaining. The internet has created a new paradigm… err, should I say this: The internet grants power to the many, to the nimble, to the wildly creative solutions. The Kochs and the Exxon Mobil complain not because their fossil fuel fortunes are fading. It’s because they won’t exist and existential pain is the greatest.

    Send my sympathy.

    Rejoice that the market has decided. Old is out and new is in. New has a thousand solutions. The old model must rely upon “connections”, money, and corruption.

  9. Ozonator says:

    Years ago, I was working at a Michigan restaurant and a major concrete business owner mentioned how the environmentalists were attacking his business. They didn’t understand that the sand from the dunes to make his concrete made it possible to make nice parks with picnic tables.

  10. John McCormick says:

    AWEA and SEIA came to their senses, smelled the blood at the ALEC table. ‘Naive’ quickly comes to mind. Contributing dues to a fascist machine is a crime.

  11. A quasi-fascist response to an abrupt climate change is extremely likely, in my mind. As you and Mulga say, John, it’s already happening.

    If the ice cap goes, and the jet stream runs wild so that agriculture fails, the response from the far right won’t be, gee, we were wrong, let’s pull together and fix this. It will be, who do we blame, and how do we enforce our power and privilege as society unravels?

    1930s Germany is indeed the model for their response.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Right on the money. The Right probably want the ecological collapse to give them the excuse to institute a complete dictatorship of wealth and privilege, to establish an ineradicable neo-feudal social order, and destroy the threat of non-Western countries growing in power and influence, the infamous ‘Clash of Civilizations’ agenda.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The more I look at it, Rabid, the more it seems that the Kocks are probably secret agents for the Great International Communist Conspiracy. If even half their hare-brained schemes, saturated in class hatred and misanthropy, were to be put into practice, the USA would become a fully-fledged neo-feudal society and the US public reduced to the position of serfs, and that is very likely to prompt a Second American Revolution. Very cunning of these Godless carmnists!