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ALEC Backs Extreme Climate Denial, Constitutional Rewrite and Corporate Lobbyists


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ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) claims that it will have a record 1,000 people at the summit, which will feature keynote speeches from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, as well as a host of supply-side economists and economic analysts.

But the real action of the conference will take place behind closed doors, where lobbyists and elected officials on ALEC’s issue task forces will sit side by side and vote on a veritable wish list of corporate causes.


One of the most extreme and divisive proposals on ALEC’s agenda is a proposed resolution calling on EPA Administrator and ALEC alumnus Scott Pruitt to review, and ultimately repeal, the EPA’s 2009 finding that greenhouse gases are endangering the planet and public health.

That finding provides the underpinning for the EPA’s climate regulations, so killing it would unravel a host of regulations the fossil fuel industry hates.

The measure is backed by the Heartland Institute and other industry-funded State Policy Network (SPN) groups, but recently drew the opposition of ExxonMobil. Despite Exxon pumping $1.7 million into ALEC in years past to cast doubt on climate science—the focus of an IRS whistleblower complaint filed by Common Cause and CMD last year—the oil giant says it objects to the resolution’s language.

Pruitt’s position is up in the air. The Koch-fueled Right has been fuming at Scott Pruitt for failing to take action on the endangerment finding earlier this year, and there are signs that he is bending to the pressure. In June, Pruitt told Breitbart that he was considering a sweeping government review to question climate science. And Pruitt continues to participate in conference calls with ALEC.

Upon his appointment to the EPA, ALEC released a statement lauding Pruitt and claiming that Trump had “found just the right person to bring fresh leadership and much-needed reform to an agency currently out of control. Anyone who values striking a balance between sensible environmental regulations and the rule of law should delight in Pruitt’s appointment.”

The proposed resolution will likely deepen an internal schism in ALEC between dirty-energy corporations, such as Koch Industries, Devon Energy, and Peabody Coal, and more forward-looking corporate backers. ALEC has lost members like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, SAP America, and even Royal Dutch Shell, due to its climate denial. More than 100 corporations have dumped ALEC in recent years over its extreme positions.

The 2009 EPA endangerment findings took into account the public health implications of a warming climate caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which include more deaths from heat-related illnesses, more serious (and potentially fatal) respiratory illnesses, and more people at risk from catastrophic flooding.


Read the rest at https://www.alternet.org/right-wing/alec-wants-rewrite-constitution

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