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Tue, 2009-10-13 13:24Brendan DeMelle
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House Committee Hearing To Investigate Coal Lobby’s Fraudulent Letters to Congress

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is holding an investigative hearing on Thursday to further probe fraudulent letters sent to Congress by the coal industry’s public relations machine in an effort to derail clean energy and climate legislation.

The committee, chaired by Rep.  Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), has uncovered more than a dozen fraudulent letters sent to several members of Congress by Astroturf specialists Bonner & Associates, who were operating under contract for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

Markey’s committee hearing will feature some of the central figures in the controversy, including victims of the fraud.  DeSmogBlog has written extensively on Bonner’s Astroturf work for ACCCE, documenting the disgraced D.C. firm’s attempts to derail passage of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill.  Fraudulent letters originating from Bonner’s office were sent on behalf of groups representing senior citizens, women, minorities and veterans in a repugnant scam.

Beyond exploring the specific evidence of Bonner’s fraud on Congress at the behest of the coal industry, the hearing will look generally at the practice of Astroturf, a vile public relations tactic sullying current debates over health care and energy legislation.  Industry-funded Astroturf involves the creation of a false appearance of actual grassroots support – often orchestrated by former tobacco lobbyists and fossil fuel industry apologists.

Wed, 2009-10-07 12:50Brendan DeMelle
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Bipartisan Report Claims Solving the Climate Crisis “Depends on Tropical Forests”

The bipartisan Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests released an extensive report today calling on the Senate to consider tropical forest preservation as a central necessity in the climate bill in front of Congress.  The group suggests that solving the climate crisis will be “nearly impossible without urgent efforts to stem tropical deforestation.”

Tue, 2009-10-06 13:41Brendan DeMelle
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Apple Quits U.S. Chamber of Commerce Over Climate

Apple became the fourth company in recent days to completely sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the business lobby’s backwards stance on climate change.

In a letter to the Chamber obtained by the New York Times, Apple states [PDF]:

Wed, 2009-09-30 09:49Brendan DeMelle
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NIKE Quits Chamber of Commerce Board Over Climate Rift

The exodus continues.  Nike announced today that the company simply cannot stand by and watch the Chamber of Commerce continue its campaign to derail much-needed action to address climate change.  So Nike Just Did It.

Here is Nike’s statement [PDF copy courtesy of NRDC here]:

Nike believes US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change legislation and that the United States needs to move rapidly into a sustainable economy to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth.

As we’ve stated, we fundamentally disagree with the US Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the EPA is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action.

We believe businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions.

It is important that US companies be represented by a strong and effective Chamber that reflects the interests of all its members on multiple issues. We believe that on the issue of climate change the Chamber has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors.

Therefore, we have decided to resign our board of directors position. We will continue our membership to advocate for climate change legislation inside the committee structure and believe that we can better influence policy by being part of the conversation. Moving forward we will continue to evaluate our membership.

Mon, 2009-09-28 13:26Brendan DeMelle
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Strike Three: Exelon Leaves Chamber of Commerce Over Climate Stance

Exelon CEO John Rowe announced today that his company will let its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lapse, citing the Chamber’s efforts to fight against efforts to curb global warming.

Exelon - the largest electric utility company in the United States - is the third energy company to sever ties with the Chamber of Commerce in the past week, joining Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources.

Rowe announced Exelon’s departure from the Chamber during his keynote address to the annual conference of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  Rowe explained to the nation’s largest association of energy efficiency experts that the Chamber’s multi-million-dollar campaign against clean energy legislation is incompatible with Exelon’s commitment to climate change leadership. 

“Inaction on climate is not an option,” said Rowe.

Thu, 2009-09-24 12:02Brendan DeMelle
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PNM Resources Leaves U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Slams Stance On Climate

UPDATE: PNM Resources announced today that they are leaving the Chamber of Commerce entirely, not just the board position. See Pete Altman’s report on this explosive news at NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

Here is the new statement from PNM Resources announcing the departure:

At PNM Resources, we see climate change as the most pressing environmental and economic issue of our time. Given that view, and a natural limit on both company time and resources, we have decided that we can be most productive by working with organizations that share our view on the need for thoughtful, reasonable climate change legislation and want to push that agenda forward in Congress. These organizations include the Edison Electric Institute, the association of shareholder-owned electric companies, and the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a group of businesses and environmental organizations of which we are a founding member.

As a result, we have decided to let our membership in the U.S. Chamber lapse when it expires at the end of this year.

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New Mexico-based utility holding company PNM Resources announced this week that the company’s chief executive, Jeff Sterba, has given up his seat on the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  The Chamber has attracted severe criticism lately from some of its member companies due to its backwards stance on global warming.

PNM issued a statement lambasting the Chamber for its recent antics:

“We strongly disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on climate change legislation and particularly reject its recent theatrics calling for a ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ to put the science of climate change on trial. We believe the science is compelling enough to act sooner rather than later, and we support comprehensive federal legislation to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect customers against unreasonable cost increases,” said PNM Resources spokesman Don Brown.

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