Greenpeace letter to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

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Greenpeace letter to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

 

Anthony F. Earley, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO

Hyun Park, Senior VP and General Counsel

Edward T. Bell, VP of Government Relations

February 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Tony Earley, Mr. Hyun Park and Mr. Edward Bell,

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

PG&E 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]

In contrast with ALEC’s unfolding history against climate and clean energy policies, PG&E’s own statements appear to take the problem seriously. “PG&E recognizes that the link between greenhouse gas emissions and the Earth’s warming climate is convincing, the potential consequences are serious and the need for action is urgent,” your company states on its “Fighting Climate Change” webpage.[v]

Development of clean energy is a major component of PG&E’s work to reduce emissions: “We are aggressively adding more renewable energy to our power mix under California's renewable portfolio standard and are well on our way toward 33 percent renewables by the end of 2020.”[vi] These laws were targeted by ALEC member legislators attempting to weaken or repeal renewable portfolio standards in at least 15 states in recent years.[vii]

If PG&E has already disassociated itself with ALEC, we request confirmation. If ALEC continues to receive support or membership dues from PG&E, we request that PG&E 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.

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]Fighting Climate Change,” PG&E website, accessed Feb. 2014

[vi]Clean Energy Solutions,” PG&E website, accessed Feb. 2014

[vii] Ibid, Goldenberg and Pilkington, 12/4/2013

 



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