At least 77 bills linked to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate-funded bill mill have been proposed this year, all of which oppose renewable energy, support fracking and Keystone XL, and undermine environmental law, PR Watch reports.
A Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) analysis finds that the bills were introduced in 34 states in 2013. Additionally, nine states have attempted to ban photography on factory farms in response to ALEC’s “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.”
ALEC is a front for some of the world’s largest polluting corporations like Koch Industries, BP, Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil. According to the Center for Media and Democracy:
“ALEC bills in recent years have pulled states out of regional climate initiatives, opposed carbon dioxide emission standards, created hurdles for state agencies attempting to regulate pollution, and tried to stop the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.”
This year, at least ten states have proposed variations on the ALEC “Resolution in Support of the Keystone XL Pipeline.” In 2012, nine ALEC member politicians attended an all-expenses-paid trip to Calgary for a tour of the Alberta tar sands, accompanied by oil industry lobbyists. The trip was sponsored by TransCanada (the Keystone XL pipeline operator).
Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because it would transport tar sands crude bitumen from Canada to the US Gulf Coast to be refined and shipped overseas. The pipeline’s installment would create a total of 35 permanent US jobs, and would emit as much carbon as 37.7 million cars or 51 coal plants.
ALEC has also pushed to repeal Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) put in place to encourage renewable energy generation. An RPS requires utilities and other retail electric providers to provide a specified amount of their total energy from renewable sources. ALEC introduced the “Electricity Freedom Act,” which would have eliminated renewable energy standards. The act, which was brought to ALEC in 2012 by the Heartland Institute, failed to pass in every state where it was introduced.
Other bills introduced by ALEC this year include the “Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act,” brought to ALEC by ExxonMobil. The legislation would create a loophole for “trade secrets,” thereby allowing companies to continue concealing information about the toxic chemical cocktail they pump into the ground during the process of hydraulic fracturing.
The “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” would require schools and educators to “teach the controversy” when addressing topics such as climate change. And the “Disposal and Taxation of Public Lands Act” would allow Western states to assume control over federal lands protected as wilderness preserves, often to allow for resource extraction from the federal lands.
“ALEC bills favor the fossil fuel barons and promote a retrograde energy agenda that polluted out air and water and is slowly cooking the planet to what may soon be devastating temperatures… Over the past year-and-a-half, at least 49 global corporations have dropped their ALEC membership… but oil and energy companies have stood by ALEC,” CMD reports.
Alisha is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @childoftheearth.