Issues Stop Global Warming ALEC's Top Five Anti-Environment "Model" Laws

ALECandCliateChangeThe American Legislative Exchange Council, a “stealth business lobbyist” that helps corporations write state and federal legislation supporting their interests, has taken major heat for backing controversial laws.

More than a dozen companies — including Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble — have pulled out of the organization over the last month due to ALEC’s support of voter ID requirements and the Stand-Your-Ground law blamed by many for the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

While the controversy around these laws has been widely reported, ALEC’s efforts to help corporate interests cut down climate legislation, renewable energy, and environmental protections are only now being heavily scrutinized. Funded by coal and oil companies, ALEC has made it a priority to stop any changes to the fossil-fueled status quo.

Below, we document the five of the worst anti-environmental initiatives being pushed by ALEC.

Stopping a Price on Carbon
While calling into question anthropogenic climate change, ALEC has been trying to block carbon pricing for many years.  In 2010, while receiving tens of thousands of dollars from Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and other large energy companies, the organization adopted a model resolution stating that “a tremendous amount of economic growth would be sacrificed for a reduction in carbon emissions.” The resolution was introduced by lawmakers in at least six state legislatures around the country virtually untouched from its original form.

Stripping Targets for Renewable Energy
ALEC has already written a resolution that would discourage states from participating in a nation-wide renewable energy target. With the possibility of getting such a target passed in Washington so slim, ALEC officials now indicate they will move their battle to states with existing targets. These laws have helped spur tens of billions of dollars in economic activity and have put the coal industry on the defensive. Not surprisingly, Peabody Energy — the largest private coal company in the world — sits on ALEC’s Enterprise Board and served as chairman of ALEC’s 2011 annual conference, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.

Turning Over Public Lands to the States
Some state legislatures are considering laws that would require Congress to turn over millions of acres of public lands to the states — a move that could eventually open these lands up to extraction industries. The Republican governors of Utah and Arizona are currently considering such bills. The Associated Press reported that “lawmakers in Utah and Arizona have said the legislation is endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that advocates conservative ideals, and they expect it to eventually be introduced in other Western states.” A similar bill was considered in Colorado, and there are rumors that the legislation will also come up in Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico.

Watering Down Public Disclosure of Fracking Chemicals
A number of states are considering new regulations to deal with the rush of natural gas drilling, particularly for hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”  Many lawmakers and residents believe natural gas companies should be required to let the public know what chemicals are being pumped underground to help extract the gas. Some of the chemicals in facking mixtures are known or suspected carcinogens. In order to protect the industry from disclosure, ALEC has crafted legislation that would provide large loopholes for companies wanting to protect “trade secrets.” A disclosure bill currently being considered in the Illinois legislature uses ALEC’s language. According to the New York Times, the legislation was sponsored by Exxon Mobil.

Preventing Regulation of Toxic Coal Ash
In 2008, a storage pond filled with more than a billion gallons of coal ash spilled into a Tennessee community — decimating homes, polluting local water resources, and causing around $1 billion in damage. The incident sparked renewed calls for federal regulation of coal ash, a bi-product of burning coal that can contain high levels of arsenic and heavy metals. According to one investigation, coal ash can be more radioactive than waste from a nuclear power plant. But ALEC has crafted model legislation opposing any federal regulation of coal ash waste. And these efforts are reaching national politicians. Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new rules on storage of this toxic waste product.

ALEC is a strong force working behind the scenes to stop any meaningful action on climate and clean energy. This is just a small snapshot of the pro-polluter bills the organization has crafted over the years. With the largest, dirtiest energy companies funding ALEC, it’s clear who these “model” laws are designed to help.

Link to original article from ThinkProgress

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Barbara Warren
(AZ)
Russell Greene
(CA)

Contact us at:
environment@pdamerica.org

PDA Issues

PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:

Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.


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Stop Global Warming IOT Calls

  • 06-18-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Listen to this incredibly informative call with RL Miller, a frequent and popular blogger on climate change; the elected chair of California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus; and attorney who keeps her own chickens. Miller has very...

  • 04-16-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Spencer Black, Vice President of the Sierra Club, discusses climate change as it relates to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the real dangers our climate and the environment face should the TPP be ratified. There is also discussion in...

  • 03-18-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Listen to this incredible presentation on what we can achieve with 100% green energy with Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program. Updates on our...

  • 02-19-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Listen to the call this month featuring reports from Idle No More, presented by Penny Opal Plant; 350.org, presented by Sara Shor; the Sierra Club, presented by James Prentice-Dunn; and Food and Water Watch; presented by Mark Schlosberg; plus...

  • 01-15-2014 Stop Global Warming

    To kick off the new year, the Stop Global Warming team spoke with Emily Wurth of Food and Water Watch, and Jay Carmona of 350.org. Listen to the discussion of legislation, actions, and new campaigns, such as the Go Fossil Free Campaign.

  • 11-20-2013 Stop Global Warming

    This is a special call and webinar with guest Elizabeth Schuster, the Legislative and Policy Analyst of Food & Water Watch, who presents further information on this team's legislation. Plus, an update from Friends of the Earth on the Trans Pacific...

Blog Talk Radio Shows

Climate Change, the Environment and Communities of Color
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