Greenpeace letter to Dominion Resources regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Greenpeace letter to Dominion Resources regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Thomas F. Farrell II, Chairman, President and CEO

Robert M. Blue, SVP of Law, Public Policy, Environment, State & Federal Affairs

Pamela F. Faggert, VP and Chief Environmental Officer

February 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Thomas Farrell, Mr. Robert Blue, and Ms. Pamela Faggert,

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

Dominion 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 Dominion’s 2012 annual report: “Dominion and Virginia Power support national climate change legislation that would provide a consistent, economy-wide approach to addressing this issue and are currently taking action to protect the environment and address climate change while meeting the future needs of their growing service territory.”[v]

Your company includes wind and solar energy development in its strategy to reduce carbon emissions and meet state RPS targets.[vi] ALEC legislators have attempted to weaken or repeal RPS laws in several states where Dominion operates, including North Carolina, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Connecticut.[vii]

If Dominion has already disassociated itself with ALEC, we request confirmation. If ALEC continues to receive support or membership dues from Dominion, we request that Dominion discontinue such a relationship to ensure its own stated role in climate change efforts 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

[v] Dominion Resources 2012 10-K filing, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,  p. 19

[vi]Climate Change,” 2012-2013 Citizenship and Sustainability Report, Dominion Resources website, accessed Feb. 2014

[vii] Documentation of ALEC legislators attempting to weaken RPS laws in these states is on file at Greenpeace USA.

 



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