Email correspondence obtained by Documented through a state open records request revealed Marathon Petroleum’s behind the scenes effort to gather approval for the fossil fuel-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “model” resolution attacking Obama-era CAFE standards. The Obama administration plan curbed  vehicle emissions that contribute to climate change.

Documented first reported on Marathon Petroleum’s membership with ALEC when the company appeared in a list of conference registrations from ALEC’s 2017 annual meeting.

The New York Times cited the email correspondence in a ground-breaking investigation outlining the fossil fuel industry’s influence in rolling back Obama-era vehicle efficiency standards.

“This process to reconsider the existing CAFE standards is important, as there are significant concerns about the existing standards potential negative impacts on vehicle safety, cost and consumer choice,” Manager of Federal Government Affairs for Marathon Petroleum Steven Higley said in an email to Wisconsin Rep. Kuglitsch, who is a member of ALEC’s EEA task force. “Therefore MPC is strongly supportive of the model resolution on CAFE standards that will be considered at the Aug. 9 EEA task force meeting.”

Higley attached a memo to the email, which called the fuel efficiency program “a relic.” “The entire mandate is a relic of the narrative of scarcity. The United States is now poised to become the largest oil producer in the world and a net energy exporter,” the memo stated.  

Legislators and corporations voted in favor of the model resolution during ALEC’s 2018 annual meeting, which was sponsored by Marathon according to a New York Times report.  

The email correspondence to Wisconsin Rep. Kuglitsch from Marathon Petroleum can be viewed below:

Photograph of Marathon Petroleum Corporation by Alvin Trusty. Used under creative commons license.

Jamie Corey

Jamie Corey is a Senior Researcher with Documented where she tracks the fossil fuel industry’s influence in state and national politics. Jamie previously worked at the Center for Media and Democracy,...

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