The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is centrally involved with pushing environmentally destructive legislation on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, today complained that "Earth Day has been a largely somber event" when it should be "a celebration of the wonderful achievements humankind has made in cleaning and greening the planet," wrote Todd Wynn, ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Director.
So why so sad all you greens? Don't you appreciate how far we have come with ALEC's help?
Neither do we.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that ALEC has done nothing, zip, nada to "green the planet," and has denied the very existence of climate change while promoting a raft of legislation to promote the continued and expanded use of fossil fuels.
Who can forget ALEC's "Top 10 Myths About Global Warming", which challenged numerous environmental truisms, such as that human activity is causing the earth to warm (Myth 1), that the polar ice caps are melting (Myth 3), that species are at risk of extinction because of climate change (Myth 5) and that "Extreme weather phenomena" is increasing because of global warming (Myth 4). ALEC doesn't feature the "Top 10" on its website anymore, but its policies towards the planet haven't mellowed one inch.
ALEC Pushes Polluters' Policies
ALEC has a very long list of "model" bills that benefit big polluters at the expense of the environment. ALEC is currently promoting the repeal of renewable energy standards in 29 states, through its Electricity Freedom Act. They are opposed to the proposed EPA rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. Its "model" Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act, was brought to ALEC by Exxon Mobil, and -- contrary to its title -- allows fracking operators to not release details of the chemicals that it pumps into the ground. Another of their "model" bills -- State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives -- would have states abandon regional efforts to implement carbon reduction schemes. This bill includes language denying climate change is occurring.
Most recently, in January ALEC adopted a new bill -- Restrictions on Participation in Low-Carbon Fuel Standards Programs -- to block adopting of state low-carbon fuel standards, currently operating in just one state -- California -- but very likely to be on the agenda in many more states in the coming years.
Many more examples can be found in our linked factsheet.
Promoting the Interests of the Fossil Fuel Industry
In its own words, ALEC has "repeatedly adopted the position that regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is unnecessary, ineffective and economically destructive." Economically destructive for whom you may ask? The list of ALEC funders is a virtual who's who of the coal, gas and oil industry: Exxon Mobil, Peabody Energy, Koch Industries, BP, Shell, Chevron and many more, plus lobbyists from the major fossil fuel trade associations including American Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute.
Although profitable, renewables are just not quite as profitable right now as burning fossil fuels. As a recent Bloomberg investigation exposed, Chevron, which publicly touts its green credentials -- "It's time oil companies get behind the development of renewable energy," reads its Facebook page -- has actually been abandoning investments in biofuels because it would make a mere 5-10% profit. It typically makes 17% on its oil and gas investments.
A Billion People Celebrate Earth Day and One Million Object to the KXL
Earth Day was founded by Wisconsin native and former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Despite organizations like ALEC, more and more people are fighting to save the planet from polluting industries. A reported 1 billion people around the globe will participate in events to mark Earth Day this year. In the United States, 350.org announced that they have now submitted a million comments to the State Department from people opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.
Now that is cause for celebration.