Greenpeace letter to Alliant Enegy regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

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Greenpeace letter to Alliant Enegy regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Patricia L. Kampling, CEO, President and Chairperson

Jim H. Gallegos, VP & General Counsel

Doug Kopp, VP of Environmental Affairs

 

February 20, 2014

Dear Ms. Pat Kampling, Mr. Jim Gallegos, and Mr. Doug Kopp,

We are writing to express our concern for the extensive support provided by Alliant Energy to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and request Alliant disassociate and stop funding ALEC immediately.

ALEC has become increasingly controversial for distributing “Stand Your Ground” state legislation and establishing policy roadblocks for legitimate voters.[i] ALEC’s aggressive anti-environmental positions have made headlines, including a poorly-received characterization of rooftop solar panel owners as “freeriders” for not paying fees to utilities when feeding excess generated electricity into the grid.[ii]

ALEC’s controversial policies are crafted through a questionable process. The lobbyists and state lawmakers in ALEC task forces meet without public accountability. A precarious relationship with federal lobbying laws has now prompted ALEC to create a 501c4 sister organization to avoid potential actions from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. This is verified by notes provided to ALEC’s board of directors, composed of state legislators.[iii]

Alliant has been a documented member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force. The policies produced by this task force include attacks on renewable portfolio standards, interference with federal efforts to reduce pollution and consistent opposition to limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

ALEC has been at this a long time: notes circulated to attendees of a 1998 meeting at the American Petroleum Institute name ALEC among organizations enlisted to block national and international climate policies by undermining the American public’s understanding of climate science.[iv]

ALEC’s unfolding history against climate and clean energy policies doesn’t reflect statements published in Alliant’s 2013 Environmental Report, which states a preference for national climate policy and global cooperation to address climate change. Alliant assures it can “successfully meet current and emerging environmental regulations while continuing to provide cost-effective energy to our customers.”[v]

The report notes projects in Minnesota and Wisconsin—two states where ALEC member legislators introduced bills to repeal state renewable portfolio standards. Alliant says it met RPS targets “on time and even ahead of schedule.”[vi] Alliant’s investments in clean energy projects are included in its climate change position statement.[vii]

If Alliant has already disassociated itself with ALEC, we request confirmation. If ALEC continues to receive support or membership dues from Alliant, we request that Alliant discontinue such a relationship to ensure its own stated role in climate change mitigation is not undermined.

I anticipate your response and I’m happy to provide any clarification or additional resources informing our concerns upon request.

Sincerely,

Gabe Wisniewski

Energy Campaign Director

Greenpeace USA


References:

 

[i] Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, “ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row,” The Guardian, 12/3/2013

Ethan Magoc, “Flurry of Photo ID Laws Tied to Conservative Washington Group,” News21, August 12, 2012

[ii] Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington, “ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy,” The Guardian, 12/4/2013

[iii] Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, “ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row,” The Guardian, 12/3/2013

[iv] Joe Walker, “Draft Global Climate Science Communications Plan,” email to members of the Global Climate Science Team convened by the American Petroleum Institute. See also New York Times: “Industrial Group Plans to Battle Climate Treaty,” 4/26/1998

[vi] Ibid, p. 3

[vii] Ibid, p. 21

 



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