Companies Dropping ALEC

Latest Companies to Drop ALEC Include News Corp., Occidental Petroleum

The exodus from the corporate lobby group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC) continues, with Rupert Murdoch-owned publisher News Corp. joining oil manufacturer Occidental Petroleum and International Paper as the latest companies to make their split public.  Linda Peterson of Occidental said the company was concerned it could be “presumed to share” ALEC’s position on climate change.

Last week, tech giants Google, Facebook, and Yelp made news when they dropped their ALEC memberships. The latest announcements extend the departures beyond Silicon Valley. News Corp., publisher of the Wall Street Journal and a mainstay of advocates of climate denial and delay, said through a spokesman that it had left ALEC in 2013.

ALEC is a non-profit that brings together corporate interests and conservative legislators to craft model state legislation. Its leaders say it pursues free-market solutions, but in reality the group is known to support the interests of it’s members in the fossil fuel and utility industry through attacks on clean energy policy and efforts to limit carbon pollution.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt made the clearest statement yet when he said that ALEC is “literally lying” and “making the world a much worse place” by standing in the way of climate action.

ALEC responded not by justifying its anti-science position on climate change, but by denying its advocacy of anti-science and obstructionist legislation. In a letter, the group claims, “no ALEC model policy denies climate change,” and that critics are “confusing free-market policy perspectives with climate denial.”

Many immediately took issue with this. For example, ALEC’s model legislation implies that climate change could yield a net benefit, a conclusion not supported by climate science. ALEC has also introduced bills requiring teachers to offer “both sides” of the climate issue to students, when only one side is supported by 97% of climate scientists. ALEC regularly schedules workshops and other sessions at its conferences to teach climate change denial. They have opposed every major federal and most state-level climate actions, including the EPA clean power plan and state-level renewable portfolio standards.

As more and more organizations depart and many make clear their discomfort with ALEC’s rejection of climate science, other ALEC members including Ebay and AOL may soon be feeling the pressure to follow suit.