Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, a critic of the US Chamber of Commerce’s reactionary stance on climate policy, has left the lobbying giant’s board. A Wonk Room review of the Chamber’s website found that six companies have left the board and thirteen joined since last year. Siemens USA’s George Nolen, another critic of the Chamber’s climate opposition, has also left the board. Duke and Siemens are members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which helped develop the Waxman-Markey climate legislation that the Chamber opposed. In October 2009, Rogers had indicated he still believed his board membership was worthwhile:
“I feel like the chamber is open to evolving their thinking,” Duke CEO Rogers said in an interview. He said he thought he could push the chamber “to the center” on the issue by staying on the board.
He has evidently decided otherwise.
Although both Duke and Siemens publicly criticized the Chamber’s stance on climate policy, neither publicly announced they were leaving the board. Last year the utilities PG&E;, Exelon, PNM Resources, and PSEG ended their membership with the Chamber, unable to reconcile their support for climate action with the Chamber’s denial of the science and hard-line opposition to President Obama’s clean energy policies. The Wonk Room has not ascertained whether Duke and Siemens have left the Chamber entirely, although it appears Siemens is still an active member.
Last year, USCAP had eight members on the U.S. Chamber board. This number is down to four (Alcoa, Dow, Deere, and IBM), with Siemens and Duke Energy leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce board and ConocoPhillips and Caterpillar leaving USCAP.
Purported climate action advocates Pepsi and IBM, who were on the board in the beginning of 2009, have returned to the board in 2010. With the enactment of health care reform, the health care industry has stepped up its involvement with the nation’s largest lobbying group, as health insurance giant WellPoint, pharmaceutical maker Sanofi-aventis, and private hospital group Clarian Health have joined the board.
The US Chamber of Commerce has also become more sinful, with the addition of US Smokeless Tobacco’s CEO Peter Paoli and Michael Leven, the president of Las Vegas Sands, the casino owned by right-wing billionaire Shel Adelson.
Here are the changes from last year to now:
Off the boardNameCompanySectorOrrin IngramIngram Industriesbooks, barges, ITGeorge NolenSiemenselectronics and engineeringMark FrenchLeading Authoritiespublic speaking, former Chamber execDavid MoxamAuthentixbrand protection and authenticationJim RogersDuke Energyelectric utilityDavid SteinbergCAIVISinternet marketing investmentOn the boardNameCompanySectorDavid AdkissonKY Chamber of Commercebusiness associationDaniel BryantPepsibeveragesJohn CannonWellPointhealth insuranceDaniel F Evans JrClarian Healthprivate hospitalsGregory IraceSanofi-aventis pharmaceuticalsJames B Lee JrJPMorgan ChasefinanceMichael A LevenLas Vegas Sands gamblingWes W LucasSIRVA movingTamara L LundgrenSchnitzer SteelrecyclingPeter PaoliUS Smokeless TobaccotobaccoThomas Joseph TaukeVerizoncommunicationMark E Watson IIIArgo Group insuranceRobert C WeberIBMcomputers
Spokesmen for Duke and the Chamber have informed the Wonk Room that Jim Rogers stepped down from the board only because he had served three consecutive two-year terms, and was required by the bylaws to cycle off. According to the Chamber, Rogers will rejoin the board in June.