Greenpeace letter to Ameren regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Greenpeace letter to Ameren regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

 

Tom Voss, Chairman, President and CEO

Greg Nelson, Senior VP & General Counsel

Michael L. Menne, VP of Environmental Services (Ameren Services)

Joe Power, VP of Federal Legislative Affairs (Ameren Services)

February 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Tom Voss, Mr. Greg Nelson, Mr. Michael Menne and Mr. Joe Power,

We are writing to express our concern for the extensive support provided by Ameren to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and request Ameren 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]

Ameren companies have sponsored ALEC functions in recent years.[iv] ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force has produced policies attacking renewable portfolio standards, interfering with federal efforts to reduce pollution and consistently opposing 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 to block national and international climate policies by undermining the American public’s understanding of climate science.[v]

ALEC’s unfolding history against climate and clean energy policies doesn’t reflect statements published by your company. Ameren’s 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report states, “Ameren is aware that the climate change issue has significant ramifications for all.”[vi] Ameren’s website encourages a “legislative” approach to limit greenhouse gas emissions and includes renewable energy development as part of its current climate change mitigation efforts.[vii]

If Ameren has already disassociated itself with ALEC, we request confirmation. If ALEC continues to receive support or membership dues from Ameren, we request that Ameren 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] Lisa Graves, “ALECexposed: List of Corporations and Special Interests that Underwrote ALEC's 40th Anniversary Meeting,” the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch.org, 8/13/2013, accessed Feb. 2014

James Hancock, “Free-market group draws criticism for potential role in bills,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/5/2011, accessed Feb. 2014

[v] 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] 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Ameren Corporation, accessed Feb. 2014

[vii]Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” Ameren Corporation website, accessed Feb. 2014

 



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