The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative policy group, has helped state lawmakers craft measures aimed at curtailing U.S. EPA air pollution rules, repealing cap and trade and teaching climate skepticism in schools, among many other things. A future target could be renewable energy mandates, which are on the books in more than half of U.S. states.
“I expect the issue to be discussed at one of our upcoming task force meetings,” Todd Wynn of ALEC told InsideClimate News. “Discussions within the task force can, and do, lead to the development of ALEC model bills.” Wynn directs the council’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force.
The Washington-based nonprofit is composed of nearly 2,000 state legislators—most of whom are Republicans—as well as some of the country’s most powerful corporations. Among its members are ExxonMobil, the biggest privately controlled U.S. oil and gas company; energy conglomerate Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the United States; and Peabody Energy, the country’s largest coal producer. Companies’ annual dues of $7,000 to $25,000, plus their extra cash donations, accounted for most of ALEC’s $7 million budget in 2010, according to media reports.
ALEC’s main activity is to draft model bills and resolutions to reduce government regulation and bolster business interests.
While ALEC has been quietly working to promote a free-market agenda since the 1970s, it was thrust in the media spotlight last summer, when the Center for Media and Democracy , a liberal watchdog group, published an online archive of more than 800 ALEC measures. Today, ALEC is again under the microscope for pushing controversial “stand your ground” gun laws at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case in Florida.
On Monday, Bloomberg broke the news that ALEC may write model measures later this year to strike down state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). The report instantly sparked a flurry of outrage in environmental circles.