Hoisting another sign that climate-change denial is fast becoming a losing proposition in mainstream U.S. politics, influential corporate lobby shop American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has sued two activist groups to try and stop them from pointing out the ways it has attempted to muddy the science of global warming, as reported by the Washington Post.
ALEC’s lawyers sent letters to Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters demanding that they “cease making false statements” and “remove all false or misleading material” that suggests ALEC is in the climate denial business.
The groups flatly rejected the demand. (Read a statement from Common Cause here.) The groups point to a record of public statements and to legislation ALEC has pushed in state capitols around the country for years. ALEC bills have stated that the science of climate change is uncertain while promoting fossil fuel interests and squashing the renewable energy sector.
The lawsuit comes as high-profile companies have begun defecting from ALEC, citing public relations concerns tied to perceptions that ALEC and the companies that fund ALEC are on the wrong side of the battle over climate change.
Companies that have dropped their membership in the organization so far include Google, British Petroleum, Facebook, Yahoo and Northrop Grumman.
From the Post:
[blockquote]The legal spat is an escalation of the conflict and suggests ALEC is feeling the heat of the activist groups’ efforts. It also suggests a new risk to organizations that rely on the donations from companies that do not want to be associated with organizations accused of denying that human activity is warming the atmosphere at an alarming rate.
The dispute comes at a time when conservative states and lawmakers and some energy sectors — especially coal interests — are also amping up their battle against the Obama administration’s push to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, a move that will shift the nation toward more use of natural gas and renewable energy.[/blockquote]
ALEC mainly produces model rules and legislation for state lawmakers to introduce. The legislation is often written and almost always shaped by industry representatives. ALEC “member” companies underwrite the organization by paying dues.
Nearly 40 percent of state lawmakers in the country belong to ALEC and travel on the “scholarships” provided by the organization to attend its national meetings and mix with corporate executives.
ALEC’s critics say that, with its long reach and the vast resources, it effectively displaces public interest as the top priority of elected officials. Leaked documents recently showed that the group aimed to ask members to take loyalty oaths and swear to “put the interests of the organization first.”
Photo by ribarnica.