U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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.

Tue, 2009-09-22 16:21Brendan DeMelle
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PG&E Quits U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Nike Fed Up Too

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced today that the utility giant is dumping its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, citing the business group’s “extreme position on climate change.”

Announcing the pull-out in a company blog titled “Irreconcilable Differences,” PG&E says that its Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Darbee told the Chamber in a letter today that:

“We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another.”

Bravo to PG&E for taking a stand.

Thu, 2009-08-20 14:52Kevin Grandia
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Texas and New Mexico ‘Energy Citizens’ Events Are Really “Energy Employees” Rallies

Oil industry employees continued their ‘Energy Citizens’ tour today in conservative towns in New Mexico, after holding a “glorified company picnic” in Houston on Tuesday.  Local New Mexico blog FBIHOP reports that the API/NAM/Chamber of Commerce/FreedomWorks/Big Oil astroturf rallies will take place today in Roswell and tomorrow in Farmington - “they will hold their meetings before going out and claiming these were grassroots efforts.”

Thu, 2009-08-13 15:13Kevin Grandia
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Leaked Memo: Oil Lobby Launches Fake "Grassroots" Campaign

UPDATE: people are beginning the send me on-the-ground info about the American Petroleum Institute events. Check the list at the end of this article to see if you live in a “target region” and to track updates.

An internal memo obtained by Greenpeace USA details polluters’ plans to launch a nationwide Astroturf campaign, staging fake “grassroots” events to attack climate legislation during the final weeks of recess before the Senate returns to debate the issue in September.

The email memo (download a PDF copy), which appears to come from the desk of American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard, asks API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide.  API is focusing on 21 states that have “a significant industry presence” or “assets on the ground.”

Tue, 2009-05-05 12:51Kevin Grandia
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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Takes Heat From Own Membership On Climate Legislation Stance

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is facing intense criticism from some of its most prominent member companies over its staunch advocacy against current Congressional efforts to solve global warming.  The Chamber has chosen to represent the extreme views of a small minority of its directors from dirty fuels industries, against the wishes of its constituents who have called for federal action on climate change and member companies who have yet to take a position on the issue.

Politico reports that Johnson & Johnson has asked 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.”

Fri, 2009-05-01 11:20Leslie Berliant
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US Chamber of Commerce Study Parrots Republican Talking Points on Carbon Cap

Carbon Emissions

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes themselves this way on their website:

As the voice of business, the Chamber’s core purpose is to fight for free enterprise before Congress, the White House, regulatory agencies, the courts, the court of public opinion, and governments around the world.

But when it comes to climate and energy legislation, it seems their core purpose is to fight Congress, the White House, regulatory agencies, the courts, the court of public opinion and governments around the world from getting anything done. With such obstructionism in mind, they commissioned a report from CRA, a global consulting firm, on the supposed impact on the economy of the climate provision in the Obama administration’s 2010 budget proposal.

Wed, 2009-04-29 11:00Kevin Grandia
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Surprise, Surprise! Industry-Funded Study Predicts Economic Doom From Obama Climate Proposal

A new study sponsored by energy-intensive industries claims that the Obama administration’s plan to impose a cap-and-trade system to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would result in 1.9 million job losses and cost the average U.S. household $1,400 a year by 2020.


These industry estimates are wildly off the mark, of course.  The Environmental Protection Agency last week concluded that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation being debated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would cost the average household just $98 to $140 a year through 2050.

The Coalition for Affordable American Energy, which commissioned the study, was formed in June 2008 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors, and 73 other industry trade associations. 

The group currently claims more than 180 associations as members, including dozens of local chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. and such noteworthy partners as the International Association of Ice Cream Vendors and the Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution.  (The group has no website of its own, all of its online communications are hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which calls itself a “key player” in CAAE.)

Wed, 2008-12-03 13:57Richard Littlemore
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James Jones: New National Security Advisor is a Climate Change Risk Factor

Gen. James Jones looks like a good soldier, but President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as a National Security Advisor just spent two years making energy policy with one of the most influential climate-policy footdraggers in the country - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Far from being a force for good, if Jones pursues the policies that the Chamber has been pushing, he will undermine the security of the United States - and the habitability of the whole planet.

That said, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Sun, 2008-11-30 23:21Richard Littlemore
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Lawrence Solomon's "Deniers" - A Carefully Calculated Lie is Still a Lie

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Speaker

Trading on His Fraudulent Book Title

Self-described “environmentalist” Lawrence Solomon has become the toast of the oil-industry-backed climate change denier community ever since the spring 2008 release of his book, The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud (and those who are too fearful to do so).

The problem, then and still, is that nobody in Solomon’s overheated text actually denies that humans are causing climate change. He admits as much on Page 45 of his book, saying:

“As these rather dramatic reversals for the doomsday view mounted, however, I also noticed something striking about my growing cast of deniers.

“None of them were deniers.”

Mon, 2007-12-10 12:43Richard Littlemore
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U.S. Energy Industry Lobbies for Bush Do-Nothing Plan

In a Dec. 7, 2007 letter to Members of the U.S. Senate (below), a cabal of energy producers and big polluters have attacked the State-level efforts to toughen global warming regulations, supporting instead the almost irrelevant measures currently in place at the national level.

Rather than deal with California-driven emission limits that would actually limit emissions, the lobbyists said: “The vehicle efficiency improvement standard and the alternative fuels provisions in the President Bush's energy proposals and in the energy legislation are preferred approaches.”

If he was capable of embarrassment, this would be a moment for President George Bush to blush.

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