Climate Advocacy Heats Up on Dominion to Dump ALEC

by Connor Gibson

September 5, 2014

Yesterday, about 80 clean energy advocates visited the Arlington, Virginia office of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to protest its dirtywork for polluting companies like Dominion Resources, a major utility in Virginia. Click here to add your voice: tell Dominion to Dump ALEC! Brandishing small wind turbines, banners and posters calling on Dominion to sever ties to ALEC, noting the company's role in causing climate change. Many protestors are Dominion customers out of necessity, due to market monopolization, and are demanding that Dominion make wiser investments with the royalties they provide as customers. Here are some photos, Courtesy of Oceana's Caroline Wood. Greenpeace was among the supporting organizations, led by Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network,the Black Youth Project, Food & Water Watch, Oceana, and Progress VA. [caption id="attachment_29448" align="aligncenter" width="640"]15139829402_324a22967c_z Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29447" align="aligncenter" width="640"]ClimateProgress author and Physicist Joe Romm. ClimateProgress author and Physicist Joe Romm.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29446" align="aligncenter" width="640"]A student activist named Priscilla advocates for quality climate science education. Oceana volunteer Priscilla Lin advocates for quality climate science education.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29450" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Jonathan Lykes of the Black Youth Project (BYP100) urges activists to practice unity among movements for economic, racial and climate justice. Jonathan Lykes of the Black Youth Project (BYP100) urges activists to practice unity among movements for economic, racial and climate justice.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29445" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Ivy Main, Chair of Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Ivy Main, Chair of Sierra Club Virginia Chapter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29449" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Protestors Engage Traffic Before the Event Protestors Engage Traffic Before the Event[/caption] The following guest speakers urged for action on climate change, clean energy development, unity across movements, and racial and economic justice:
  • Bill Euille - Mayor of Alexandria VA
  • Joe Romm - Physicist and Founder of Climate Progress
  • Jonathan Lykes - Co- Chair Black Youth Project 100, D.C. Chapter
  • Jorge Aguilar - Southern Region Director at Food & Water Watch
  • Priscilla Lin - Recent graduate of William and Marry College and Volunteer with Oceana
  • Ivy Main - Chair Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and member of Virginia Governors Climate Commission
  • Seth Heald - Vice Chair, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter

Building Pressure on Dominion to Dump ALEC:

This protest is the latest in ongoing calls for Dominion Resources to sever ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Alexandria Mayer Bill Euille wrote an op-ed in the Fairfax Times, encouraging readers to "to join me in Crystal City at the Sept. 4 rally calling on Dominion to sever its ties with ALEC." Shareholders have filed resolutions at Dominion's last annual meeting, and formally requesting increased commitment to addressing climate change and disassociation from ALEC, citing climate change denial and complaints to the IRS about ALEC's potential tax status violations. Of nine ALEC member utilities contacted by Greenpeace earlier this year, Dominion was one among three that continued to stand by ALEC. Why all the pressure and protest? ALEC is currently helping dirty energy companies wage "guerrilla warfare" against the country's first rule to curb climate pollution as part of a decades-long effort to deny climate change science and block policy solutions. In recent years, ALEC's coal and oil company members have used the shadowy lobbying group--through its state politician members--to attack incentives for clean energy and penalize homeowners who install their own solar panels. ALEC infamously labeled such people "freeriders on the system." Despite being repeatedly pressed by Greenpeace on how ALEC upholds its "free market" slogan when it consistently attacks clean energy incentives while advancing fossil fuel industry interests, ALEC staff have not been able to account for the contradiction: Leading this charge within ALEC is the Edison Electric Institute, the primary trade association for utility companies like Dominion and Duke Energy. Todd Wynn, a climate change denier who previously directed ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force, is now working for Edison Electric Institute. EEI remains a primary voice within ALEC's anti-environmental task force, which on churns out model policies to undermine pollution safeguards and stunt the growth of clean energy development. Not accountable to customers, lobbyists like Wynn at EEI provide some political cover for its utility members like Dominion, Duke Energy, and Arizona Public Service, all of which have ignored calls to dump ALEC and have acted aggressively against distribute generation solar energy--homeowners and small businesses taking steps to become energy independent.

@PolluterWatch Live Tweets from the Protest:

[caption id="attachment_29457" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Supporting Organizations. Supporting Organizations.[/caption]
Connor Gibson

By Connor Gibson

Connor Gibson does research for Greenpeace's Investigations team. He focuses on polluting industries, their front groups and PR operatives, particularly focusing on the Koch Brothers.

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