American Legislative Exchange Council

President George W. Bush's EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt addresses members of ALEC in 2004.

President George W. Bush’s EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt addresses members of ALEC in 2004.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) connects lawmakers with corporate lobbyists to produces model bills that are then introduced in legislatures across the country. Model bills can be brought to ALEC by the lobbyists themselves, which has led some to describe this organization as a “corporate bill mill.” In fact, 98% of ALEC’s funding comes from corporations or corporate “foundations” like the Charles Koch Foundation. In fact, the Charles Koch Foundation contributed $449,114 to ALEC in 2015 alone. This money is then used to subsidize lawmakers’ trips to ALEC meetings, where they are wined, dined, and then vote in committee meetings, side-by-side with lobbyists, on the model bills.

 

The bills that have come out of ALEC over the past few years do much to advance the corporate members’ interests at the expense of both the environment and the public’s health. Examples include bills that would prevent the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions, and a bill giving corporations legal protections against victims of lead poisoning. ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force, which includes representatives from major fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Duke Energy, and Peabody Energy, has approved model bills to repeal renewable energy standards (RES), weaken RES laws by watering them down with non-renewable sources of electricity, and eliminate solar net metering policies.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver aired a segment on ALEC in 2014, and explained how the organization makes state lawmakers’ jobs “troublingly easy.” Oliver highlighted the model legislation that repeals RES laws and said, “so as long as you can remember and spell the name of your state, you can introduce legislation.” And this year, it seems that many legislators could remember their state name and spell it correctly, because many model bills were introduced. In fact, one bill appearing in the state of Washington, which weakens that state’s RES, is nearly identical to an ALEC model bill that was distributed to its members this year.

ALEC-Model-Attack-on-Clean-EnergyOnce ALEC model bills are introduced, allied legislators and fossil fuel-funded front groups cite flawed reports to back up their reasoning to either repeal or weaken RES laws or net metering laws. The reports cited are written by the fossil fuel-funded Beacon Hill Institute housed at Suffolk University, and the Koch-funded professor, Randy Simmons, who works at Utah State University. The groups tout university studies to generate more support to eliminate or weaken clean energy laws, and then State Policy Network lobbyists work to increase co-sponsors while providing testimony in favor of the ALEC bills. Finally, fossil fuel-funded member-based groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, put additional pressure on lawmakers to pass ALEC model bills.

In total, EPI uncovered 14 ALEC-related or inspired model bills in 2015 attacking renewable energy standards and net metering laws. These do not include the ALEC model bills that targeted state environmental agencies’ ability to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The Natural Resources Defense Council reported that were at least 13 bills in 2015 that attacked the CPP.

Corporations and trade associations also began to use ALEC’s new organization, the American City County Exchange (ACCE), to lobby lawmakers. ACCE’s winter “policy summit” featured Todd Wynn of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which is the trade association for investor-owned electric utility companies. Wynn was also a former ALEC staffer.

At the summit, Wynn lobbied local elected officials about net metering and municipalization. He told the public officials at the ACCE meeting, “Engage and get to know your local electric utility. Those guys are really great. They can be awesome assets for you. They can help you out with your races at some point in time as well, which is always positive.”

 

Recent Posts About American Legislative Exchange Council

Donald Trump Has Nominated Oklahoma AG Pruitt, ALEC and Fossil Fuel Industry Ally, To Lead EPA

“We have an EPA that is engaged in rulemaking, proposed rulemaking, that seeks to exert itself in a way that the statute doesn’t authorize at all.”

Follow the money behind attacks on clean energy in Ohio

December 28, 2016 update: Republican Governor John Kasich has vetoed legislation – HB 554 – that would have effectively extended the freeze on Ohio’s clean energy standards for another two years by making them voluntary. The standards will now be unfrozen on […]

With Kochs Now Attacking Electric Vehicles, Utilities Should Reexamine Their Friends

The Kochs’ funding of anti-EV politics should leave utilities reconsidering their funding of the Koch network. The rift may already be opening in the utility and Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council.

Dominion is giving to establishment candidates in the Virginia governor's race.

Does Dominion support using Thomas Jefferson’s name to spread climate denial?

This relationship between a lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest utilities and an aggressive purveyor of attacks on climate science and policies warrants much deeper scrutiny than it has so far received.

Industry-funded Front Groups Working Together To Fight Clean Power Plan

These ten industry-funded front groups have been working to stop the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan regulations seeking to combat combat climate change.

North Carolina Renewable Energy Standard Attacked Again

After using last year’s legislative session to deal with Duke Energy’s Dan River coal ash spill, Republicans on the House Public Utilities Committee are bringing back their 2013 attempt to freeze the state’s clean energy law.

American Gas Association Wants States To Submit Implementation Plans, Not Ignore Clean Power Plan

David McCurdy, President & CEO of the American Gas Association, said last week that he prefers state lawmakers and regulators submit their state implementation plans (SIP) to the EPA, rather than completely refuse to comply with the regulations. If states […]

Edison Electric Institute’s Anti-Solar, PR Spending Revealed

Over the past couple of decades, special interests from the coal, oil, utilities, and other energy industries have routinely used lobbying, public relations, and other means to impact decisions that could affect their businesses.

Our Prediction for 2015 on Utility Dive

We submitted the following prediction to Utility Dive after they asked: What do you think will happen in 2015? See the rest of the predictions here.  Matthew Kasper, Fellow, Energy and Policy Institute: Koch funded-Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative […]

Atlantic Offshore Drilling Plans Continue: Fossil Fuel Front Groups Meet Privately With Federal Agencies

Update March 15, 2016: The Obama administration said it will not auction off drilling rights for Atlantic Ocean waters off the coast of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. However, the Department of Interior will consider the sale of drilling rights in three spots in the Arctic […]

ALEC’s Anti-Renewable Energy Agenda – July 2014

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) new energy agenda continues to support the interests of the fossil fuel and utility members by attacking clean energy policies at the state level. ALEC is funded by some of the nation’s largest energy […]

Coloradans Urge Governor Hickenlooper Not to Swear In Glen Vaad to Utility Commission

Glenn Vaad received an American Legislative Exchange Council “State Legislator of the Year” Award in 2012.

Utility Interests Threaten Future of Renewable Energy in Colorado via Public Utility Commission (PUC) Appointment of Glenn Vaad

In Colorado, alarm and concern is quickly spreading with revelations that Glenn Vaad, appointed by Governor Hickenlooper as one of three Public Utilities Commissioners, is also a former high ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The Campaign Against Net Metering: ALEC and Utility Interests’ Next Attack on Clean Energy Surfaces in Arizona

APS appears to be leading the first assault of a national campaign by the utility industry trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and fossil fuel interests like APS, to weaken net metering policies.

Q&A: ALEC’s new tactics to weaken renewable laws

This Q&A originally appeared in Midwest Energy News.  By Kari Lydersen Though bills meant to revoke or undercut renewable standards in numerous states failed last session, clean energy advocates say the model Market Power Renewables Act and the Renewable Energy Credit Act proposed […]

After Fossil Fuel Front Group Attacks on Clean Energy Fail, New Model Bill Emerges to Weaken RPS Laws

Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), including fossil fuel corporations and front groups, will meet in Chicago this week to discuss their next round of attacks on clean energy policies. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Energy […]

ALEC’s Most Wanted: Exposing a front group for fossil fuel interests (and other corporations)

The Center for Media and Democracy’s (CMD) Brendan Fischer and Nick Surgey uncovered an internal document from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) at the controversial organization’s meeting last week in Oklahoma City. The document entitled “OKC anti-ALEC photos” featured […]

The Maine Players Attacking Renewable Energy: The Koch Brothers

In a new report, the Maine Conservation Alliance asks: are we debating renewable energy, or the Koch brothers’ profits?” Maine’s renewable energy standards have been the prime target of the Koch Machine – front groups, think tanks, and legislators with financial […]

Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform’s Deceptive Campaigns for Dirty Energy and Big Tobacco

Grover Norquist is a familiar player in Washington debates, renowned for convincing nearly every Republican in Congress to sign a pledge to not raise taxes. But Norquist’s main job is not as a principled advocate for his brand of limited […]

Donors Trust: The Secret Group Funding Attacks on Clean Energy & Climate Science

New research shows almost $120 million flowed from two secretive groups, called “Donors Trust” and “Donors Capital” to 102 groups denying climate science and attacking clean energy. The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg reports that “the funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped […]

ALEC Attacks Clean Energy Standards: Ohio & Virginia

Over the past couple weeks, fossil fuel interests and their allies have ramped up attacks on clean energy on the state level. As the Washington Post reported in November, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a fossil fuel-funded advocacy group, has made it a […]

Coalition Sends Letter to Duke Energy CEO: Drop ALEC

A coalition of democracy advocates sent a letter to Jim Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy Corporation, to drop his company’s affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC serves as a conduit to feed big business-sponsored […]

Ohio House debates renewable energy and misinformation abounds

The Ohio House of Representatives just debated and passed another bill to rollback the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard. Proponents of the bill – HB 114 – engaged in misleading attacks on the booming renewable energy industry. What follows are […]

On ABC’s “This Week” Scott Pruitt Cites the Success of the EPA and Clean Air Act to Undo Them

It is a bitter irony that Scott Pruitt cites the Clean Air Act success story to justify the Trump administration’s attacks on clean air and water safeguards

Peabody Energy Funding Climate Change Denial and Anti-Renewable Campaigns

Analysis of bankruptcy court documents reveals Peabody Energy funding climate denial that span trade associations, lobby groups, and industry front groups.

Duke Energy Shareholders Reject Proposal for Disclosure of Lobbying Activities and Expenditures

Sisters of two Catholic religious orders that own Duke Energy stock want full disclosure of lobbying activities, but the board and shareholders rejected the proposal.

Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee Relies on Fossil Fuel Interests to Attack Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS)

Ohio legislators should be cautious of any action to freeze, eliminate, make voluntary or weaken the standard because the study committee will be forced to rely on special interest groups to come to their conclusion.

Revealed: Public Records Between Senator Seitz and Utility Companies

Internal emails reveal how ALEC, utility industry representatives, and front groups have been working to influence the members of the Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee.

Charles Koch Distorts the Facts: Here Are The Ways His Money & Political Network Prevent Clean Energy Businesses From Succeeding

The Kochs use their political influence and funding for efforts to repeal laws designed to support the deployment of more renewable electricity.

Vitter and His Campaign Contributors Fight Against EPA Carbon Rules, Favor Anti-Environment Agenda

Vitter’s Billionaire’s Club report is a distraction from the real billionaires in politics with whose dirty energy agenda David Vitter is strongly aligned.

Industry-funded Front Groups Working Together To Fight Clean Power Plan

These ten industry-funded front groups have been working to stop the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan regulations seeking to combat combat climate change.

Are Utility Companies Changing Their Strategy To Fight Obama Power Plan?

In a letter sent to President Obama this week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said that the State of Indiana “will not comply” with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan unless the plan is “demonstrably and significantly improved.” Gov. Pence […]

Edison Electric Institute Elects New Leaders But Policymakers Are Unlikely To See Innovative Ideas

Nick Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power, was announced as the elected chairman of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) yesterday at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans. EEI is the national trade association representing investor-owned electric utility […]

The Exelon-Pepco Merger & Exelon’s History of Anti-Clean Energy Lobbying

The Exelon-Pepco merger would empower the company to continue its anti-renewable campaign in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, negatively impact ratepayers, and hinder the growth of the renewable energy industry.

Mississippi Net Metering Rules Advance

A state investigation found net metering “has the potential to result in a downward pressure on rates.”

Edison Electric Institute Campaign Against Distributed Solar

The rapid emergence of solar energy has caused investor-owned utility companies and their trade association, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), to create a strategic campaign to disrupt the growth of the distributed rooftop solar market.

Release: Fossil Fuel-Funded ALEC Behind Attack Colorado Renewable Energy Standard

The sponsors of the bill are tied to the fossil fuel-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has sought for at least three years to overturn renewable energy standards (RES) in the states.

Beacon Hill Institute EPA Attack Funded Through Richard Berman Front Group

The reports have been released in partnership with industry-funded state think tanks with ties to the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel special interest groups.

House Subcommittee on Energy and Power Features Fossil Fuel Front Groups

House subcommittee hearing features testimony from people who have received funding from fossil fuel interests and primarily advocate for the continued use of fossil fuels over renewable energy.

Assemblymember Perea’s Energy Bill Pushed by Fossil Fuel Interests Tied to American Legislative Exchange Council

In 2014, California Assembly Bill 1763 would require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a state energy plan for 2030 and 2050. It is sponsored by Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy (CARE), a coalition that includes multiple fossil fuel interests, and connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Fossil Fuel Interests Continue Attacks on Clean Energy Policies

This response was originally posted at National Journal’s Energy Insiders blog, which asked energy experts this week, “How Bright Is Renewable Energy’s Future?” The outlook for clean energy remains strong because smart investments like state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are combining with […]