Greenpeace letter to NV Energy regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Greenpeace letter to NV Energy regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

 

Michael W. Yackira, President and CEO

Doug Cannon, Senior VP and General Counsel

Anthony F. Sanchez III, Senior VP of Public Policy and External Affairs

February 20, 2014

 

Dear Mr. Michael Yackira, Mr. Doug Cannon and Mr. Tony Sanchez,

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

NV Energy 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]

These ongoing ALEC initiatives explicitly undermine the public statements made by NV Energy. Your company’s latest Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report recognizes the reality of climate change and clearly states, “Greenhouse gas emissions should be regulated at the federal level.” [v] ALEC’s numerous model resolutions against federal greenhouse gas regulation explicitly contrast NV Energy’s stance on climate policies.[vi]

ALEC’s unfolding history against climate and clean energy policies doesn’t reflect statements published in NV Energy’s annual report or other public commitments. Your company states on its website: “NV Energy is committed to renewable energy, and continues to develop our plentiful resources for the benefit of our state, our customers and the environment we all share.”

NV Energy’s website and latest annual report repeatedly detail investments and future commitments to renewable energy development, specifically stating, “Even before Nevada first adopted the Portfolio Standard in 1997, NVE has been committed to renewable energy.” Last year, ALEC legislators received widespread, bipartisan criticism for their attempts to weaken Renewable Portfolio Standard laws, which ALEC targeted in at least 15 states.[vii]

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

I anticipate your response and I’m happy to provide any clarification or additional resources informing our concerns upon request. We have expressed the same concern to your parent company, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.

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]Growing Responsible Energy,” Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2012, NV Energy, p.7, accessed Feb. 2014

[vi] Ibid Goldenberg & Pilkington, 12/4/2013

[vii] NV Energy 2012 10-K filing, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, accessed Feb. 2014

 



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