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 legislation to members of state legislatures across the country.

ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Committee is filled with major fossil fuel interests, including ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Koch Industries, and Peabody Energy, to name a few (here is the full list). It’s not surprising that ALEC is pushing “sample legislation” that would eliminate renewable energy standards and insert loopholes into fracking disclosures, thereby allowing companies to hide the chemicals they are pumping underground.

ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Committee is filled with major fossil fuel interests including ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Koch Industries, and Peabody Energy (to name a few, here is the full list). It’s no wonder that ALEC is pushing “sample legislation” to state legislators that would eliminate renewable energy standards and insert loopholes into fracking “disclosure” laws to allow companies to hide the chemicals they are pumping underground.

The question remains — Why is Duke Energy involved with these unsavory companies and organizations that are part of ALEC? Duke Energy Corporation’s own website says:

Clean, reliable and affordable energy is the key to creating a growing economy. Duke Energy is already hard at work promoting policies, partnerships and technologies that will ensure our success in the new Clean Market Economy.

Thirty-eight companies have already left ALEC because of “stand your ground” laws that many believe contributed to the death of Trayvon Martin, voter ID laws that are restricting access to the ballot box, and anti-clean energy laws being introduced in legislatures across the country.

The entire letter is below or can be downloaded here (PDF).


 

Dear Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers,

We, the undersigned, a coalition of environmental, civil rights, and democracy reform groups are writing to express our concern for the extensive support provided by Duke Energy to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and request Duke Energy disassociate and stop funding ALEC immediately.

ALEC is not only responsible for drafting model state laws attacking renewable energy programs and climate policies, it is also intentionally crafting and supporting Voter ID bills and other legislation designed to suppress people from voting and participating in our democracy. We are concerned about this fundamental attack on our democracy and civil rights, and Duke Energy’s support for it.

Duke Energy has repeatedly stated concern over climate change, yet is participating in ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force, which includes notorious climate skeptics like the Heartland Institute and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (which we understand Duke Energy disassociated from in 2009 due to its role in obstructing national climate policy). In direct opposition to Duke Energy’s position on climate, ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force continues to advance legislative efforts that attempt to deny the realities of climate change.

ALEC more broadly demonstrates an attack against state action on climate change and renewable energy, promoting laws and resolutions that undermine state’s abilities to address climate change and expand clean energy. While Jim Rogers has called for the US to “wean [itself] from the use of foreign oil,”[viii] Duke works alongside multinational oil companies like ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Chevron within ALEC, all of which are known for their heavy obstruction of U.S. climate and clean energy policies.

Perhaps most alarmingly, ALEC is spearheading attacks on our democracy and civil rights, promoting Voter ID legislation and other bills intended to make it more difficult for people to vote and participate in our democracy. These bills will most dramatically hit young people, people of color and poor people, suppressing them and their ability to vote.

We collectively call upon Duke Energy to drop all financial and staff support to ALEC due not only to their role in blocking clean energy implementation and solutions to global warming, but due to their direct attacks on democracy and our civil rights.

We look forward to a quick response and would be happy to provide any clarification or additional resources informing our questions, if needed.

Sincerely,

Energy Action Coalition
Greenpeace
Common Cause
CREDO Action
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Public Citizen
Friends of the Earth
Oil Change International
Center for Media & Democracy
Southern Energy Network
Checks & Balances Project

Posted by Gabe Elsner

Gabe Elsner is the founder and executive director of the Energy & Policy Institute. He is a thought leader on defending policies from attacks by incumbent energy interests and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, The Australian, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. The Energy & Policy Institute’s work has protected dozens of public policies that support the growth of the clean-tech industry.

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