Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oil Company Occidental Petroleum Cuts Ties with ALEC

Pumpjacks  (Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images) Click to enlarge.
A large oil and natural-gas company is parting ways with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Occidental Petroleum sent a letter Friday to an investment-management company indicating its intention to sever ties with ALEC, a conservative coalition of state legislators and major corporations that actively opposes environmental regulations.

"There are no plans to continue Occidental's membership in, or make further payments to, ALEC," the company said in a letter to Walden Asset Management obtained by National Journal. Occidental declined to comment on the letter.
But Occidental's letter notes a concern that it could be "presumed to share the positions" on global warming and regulations to limit air pollution from the nation's fleet of power plants held by organizations of which the company is a member, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade association for the oil and gas industry.

Environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, have accused ALEC of denying climate change, a charge the organization denies.  Its model legislation for state lawmakers, however, runs counter to the scientific consensus on climate change, saying it remains unclear whether human emissions are changing global temperatures.

Watchdog organizations say Occidental's departure could indicate the start of a broader trend of companies not tied to Silicon Valley leaving the free-market organization due to public backlash against the company over its environmental policies.

"It says something that oil companies are leaving now," said Jay Riestenberg, a research analyst with Common Cause, a progressive organizing group that works to pressure companies to divest from ALEC.  "They just don't see it as worth it anymore."

Oil Company Occidental Petroleum Cuts Ties with ALEC

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