From the Virginia Sierra Club:
Group’s Call Follows High Profile Corporate Defections by Google, Facebook and Occidental Petroleum over ALEC’s Climate Position
(Richmond, VA) The Sierra Club today called on Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources, Inc., a Fortune 300 company and one of the largest energy corporations in the United States, to withdraw its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. The Sierra Club, America’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, announced that a recent effort led to more than 27,000 people from across the nation writing to Dominion CEO and chairman Thomas Farrell II, calling on the company to pull out of ALEC.
The 27,000-signature campaign followed a September 4 Sierra Club-led rally at ALEC’s Arlington, Va. headquarters, where 80 people from a coalition of nine groups held signs along busy U.S. Route 1 and demanded that Dominion “Dump ALEC.”
ALEC has been described as a “corporate bill mill” that brings together state legislators and lobbyists from big corporations to advance those corporations’ agenda. ALEC suffered a rash of major corporate defections in the past two weeks after Google chairman Eric Schmidt on September 26 said publicly that Google withdrew from ALEC because ALEC has been “actually lying” about climate change.
Earlier this summer Microsoft announced it was leaving ALEC because of the organization’s positions against clean energy. Following Google chairman Schmidt’s statement, Yahoo, Facebook, Yelp, and Occidental Petroleum quickly announced that they too are pulling out of ALEC. Also leaving ALEC recently were the major electric utility Southern California Edison and Raytheon, a defense contractor.
Northern Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope expressed similar concerns in a recent OpEd in the Fairfax Times stating: “I don’t want the company I pay to keep my lights on to advocate extreme policies that are anathema to the majority of its customers here in Northern Virginia, like working to block efforts to address climate disruption, or supporting voter-suppression measures, or “stand your ground” gun laws.” http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20140929/OPINION/140929412/1065&template=fairfaxTimes
“With other companies, customers can take their business elsewhere when they don’t like a company’s policies or affiliations, but in the case of Dominion, we have no choice but to buy our power from them,” said Seth Heald, Vice Chair of the Virginia Sierra Club and a leader in the Dominion Dump ALEC campaign. “With Dominion’s monopoly status comes a responsibility to avoid affiliation with controversial organizations like ALEC, and that is why we’ve launched the ‘Dominion Dump ALEC’ effort.”
Stung by the recent corporate defections, ALEC officials and members, including Speaker William J. Howell of the Virginia House of Delegates, wrote to Google chairman Schmidt and other Google executives, attempting to defend ALEC. In response the nonprofit climate-science group Forecast the Facts issued a paper titled “5 Ways ALEC Denies the Facts of Climate Change.” The paper notes that ALEC has worked to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Program, which will reduce carbon pollution from electric power plants. The paper notes that ALEC has even falsely claimed that the EPA lacks authority to reduce carbon pollution, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has on several occasions upheld the EPA’s authority to do just that.