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Thu, 2014-01-23 11:45Ben Jervey
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Tricks of the Trade: How Big Polluters Hide Climate Lobbying Behind Trade Groups

What do large companies do when they want to lobby against climate change and carbon mitigation measures without looking publicly like they're pro-pollution? According to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, they hide behind trade groups.

Groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have essentially become puppets for the positions of the ventriloquist corporations they serve. Companies often position themselves publicly to suggest they support action to address climate change. But those promises are regularly contradicted by the lobbying activities of trade groups they are part of, such as the chamber, that fight against such policy action.

The Union of Concerned Scientists report, Tricks of the Trade: How Companies Influence Climate Policy Through Business and Trade Associations, doesn’t introduce this concept — organizations like 350.org have been calling out companies for their membership in the anti-science U.S. Chamber for years now — but its authors Gretchen Goldman and Christina Carlson take a deep, analytical look at the memberships of various trade orgs and dig into survey data from the companies to find some glaring contradictions.

Fri, 2013-12-06 11:57Farron Cousins
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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Backing Mitch McConnell, Other Coal Candidates In 2014

Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is facing an uphill battle for reelection in next year’s midterms.  But luckily for McConnell, his powerful allies in the dirty energy industry have deep pockets and are willing to shower his campaign with cash to help increase his chances of victory.

Over the last year, McConnell has been described as “the most unpopular Senator,” and in the last few months his approval rating has fallen to the mid-30’s.  He is currently trailing Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes by 2 percentage points in polls. 

McConnell’s allies in the business community, specifically the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released an ad earlier this week touting McConnell’s commitment to the coal industry, and attacking the so-called “war on coal” coming from the Obama Administration.  Here is the ad:

According to 350.org, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funded, at least in part, by a number of dirty energy companies.  This helps explain their willingness to use the “war on coal” as a tool to aid in McConnell’s reelection.

Thu, 2013-10-24 05:00Farron Cousins
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US Chamber President Tom Donohue Pushes Deceitful Dirty Energy Talking Points

Tom Donohue, the president of the massive business lobbying group the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is once again doing the bidding of the dirty energy industry by claiming that America is on the verge of complete “energy security.”

On the pages of the U.S. Chamber’s Free Enterprise website, Donohue claimed that America has become an “energy rich” nation, no longer susceptible to problems like the gas shortage of the 1970’s.  In Donohue’s own words:

We’re sitting on a 200-year supply of oil and have enough natural gas to last us 115 years. And we’re discovering more resources every day. Thanks to new technology, entrepreneurship, and access to private lands, we’re able to develop more of it than ever—particularly the unconventional oil and gas, which was previously too costly to reach…

…Our national energy policy is still based on the false assumption that we are an energy-poor nation. The federal government continues to keep 87% of federal lands off limits for energy development. Our affordable and abundant coal resources are under constant regulatory threat by EPA. The administration is proposing new regulations on shale energy development, even though it is already stringently regulated at the state level. And some in the government still want to pick winners and losers among energy industries.

Donohue would have us believe that the United States is sitting on vast energy reserves that would quench our dirty energy addiction for centuries, but the pesky federal government is trying to keep those honest energy companies down. 

This is the same government that, a few paragraphs earlier Donohue inadvertently admitted, had allowed increased oil and gas drilling in the United States and reduced our need for imports:

Sat, 2011-04-30 13:12Farron Cousins
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Business Groups Lobby EPA to Drop Gas Emission Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has only been regulating greenhouse gas emissions for four months, but business groups are already tired of the increased oversight. According to new reports, some of the largest business groups in America are fighting back, urging the President and Congress to strip the EPA of its new authority.

Tue, 2010-10-26 05:32Emma Pullman
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Money Talks: Big Oil & Special Interests Bankroll Anti-Clean Energy Efforts on the Campaign Trail

With a week to go before the U.S. midterm elections, the Center for American Progress Action Fund has released a great interactive map that shows who’s been bankrolling efforts to halt clean energy efforts and back the anti-clean energy reform agenda.  After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision permitted corporations to spend unlimited money influencing elections, the election terrain has become a dizzying display of corporate muscle and dollars.  Perhaps most dizzying is how easy it is for Big Oil and special interests to hide behind benevolent-sounding front groups, and how difficult it now is for us to know whose interests are shaping the elections.

In this midterm election, Democratic-aligned groups have been outspent by an astounding 7 to 1 margin, and Republican-aligned groups have flooded the nation’s airwaves with a flurry of ads.  According to CorpWatch, they have spent over $300 million, five times as much as they did in 2006.

CAP’s stats come from a Repower America report that shows the companies and organizations spreading misinformation about clean energy and climate change.  13 organizations have injected $68.5 million in 2010 alone into fictitious TV ads designed to spin clean energy legislation.  Since August alone, they’ve pumped over $17 million into their efforts. 

CAP’s report offers a state-by-state breakdown of the top donors, and follows the money to the source. And it’s not pretty.  The stakes for a clean energy future are high as oil and coal groups spend more and more helping climate-denying candidates run in tight races.

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.

Wed, 2009-05-20 17:35Mitchell Anderson
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US Chamber of Commerce Implodes on Climate Policy

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The wheels are falling off the US Chamber of Commerce’s long-standing opposition to meaningful American climate policy. Why? Because their own members are demanding this Capitol Hill powerhouse move into the 21st century.

Household names as Nike and Johnson & Johnson are apparently embarrassed by the dinosaur attitude of the nation’s largest commercial lobby group.

Johnson & Johnson sent a letter demanding that the Chamber to refrain from making comments on climate change unless they “reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members advocating for congressional action.”

Nike has also been “vocal” with the Chamber’s leaders “about wanting them to take a more progressive stance on the issue of climate change.”

Tue, 2008-12-02 16:34Kevin Grandia
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Research Paper: Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth

The DeSmogBlog research team has completed a full backgrounder on the Alliance for Energy and Econmic Growth that is run mainly by the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, the American Gas Association and the Edison Electric Institute.

The Alliance for Energy and Econimic Growth (AEEG) was founded in 2001 and has been a major attack dog on climate and renewable energy policy for the US Chamber of Commerce.

While it is unclear who the founding members of the AEEG are the website registration currently lists both the American Gas Association and the Edison Electric Institute as contacts. The staff email address for the US Chamber of Commerce is listed as the main contact.

The current management team of the AEEG (PDF) includes many of the most influential players in the US energy and transportation lobby…

 

Tue, 2007-07-24 11:36Kevin Grandia
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Energy Association in Full Swing Over Rahall's Energy Bill

Rep. Nick Rahall's (D-W.VA) energy reform bill will be the center of debate on Capitol Hill this week, and energy lobbyists are swinging into action. Two of the most contentious sections of the Rahall Bill will see an extension of drilling permit approvals from 30 days to 90 and limit royalties to oil companies.

One of the main opponents to the Rahall Bill is an industry group called the “Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth” (AEEG).
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