ALEC Energy Task Force Members Uncovered

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its Energy, Environment and Agriculture (EEA) task force has been the source of a number of “model” bills and resolutions introduced in state legislatures across the country that benefit the fossil fuel industry and weaken environmental protections. A registration list obtained by Documented from a FOIA provides a rare glimpse at the fossil fuel corporations, utilities, industry trade associations, right-wing think tanks and legislators behind many of these policies.

The roster comes from last year’s ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit, which was held from November 28 – 30, 2018 in Washington D.C.. At the meeting, the EEA task force adopted “model” resolutions praising President Trump’s “energy and environmental policy accomplishments” and opposing tax incentives for electric vehicles. As previously reported by Documented, Marathon Petroleum lobbyist Stephen Higley, climate change denier Myron Ebell, and American Energy Alliance President Tom Pyle all worked behind-the-scenes along with then Ohio State Rep. Andy Thompson to promote the resolutions within ALEC.  

Documented obtained the list from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Below are some key findings in the document. Note that the list accounts for members of the EEA task force who registered for the 2018 task force meeting and does not account for the entire task force membership:

  • Marathon Petroleum Corporation and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) are members of the task force. Documented previously reported on Marathon Petroleum’s efforts to build support for rolling back Obama-era vehicle efficiency standards, which was cited in a New York Times investigation that revealed Marathon and AFPM’s stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards.

  • Coal producer Alliance Resource Partners is listed as a member of the task force. Alliance Resource Partners’ CEO Joe Craft is a major supporter of President Donald Trump and his wife Kelly Craft who serves as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

  • Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and a number of groups funded by the Koch Network, including American Energy Alliance and Americans for Tax Reform, are members of the task force. 

  • The Walton-family owned solar company First Solar is a member of the task force. A 2017 report published by the Energy and Policy Institute reveals that First Solar teamed up with the Edison Electric Institute and the Brattle Group “to conduct and promote a study highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of utility-scale solar compared to rooftop solar.”

  • Numerous utility corporations and trade associations make up a portion of the task force, including National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Cooperative Energy, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Duke Energy Corporation, Salt River Project, UNS Energy Corporation, and Arizona Public Service (APS).

  • Four private sector state chairs–information that ALEC does not make public–are listed in the registration: Bette Grande of the Heartland Institute, Michael Morgan of Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, Russell Smoldon of B3 Strategies and David Blatnik of Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Both private and public state chairs help ALEC raise state “scholarship” funds, which are used to help ALEC pay for plane tickets and hotel rooms for legislators to attend ALEC conferences.

  • The State Policy Network and a number of its members and associate members are listed in the task force, including the Reason Foundation, R Street Institute and Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The SPN registration details memberships in several other ALEC task forces, including Communications and Technology, Health and Human Services, Federalism and International Relations, Civil Justice Tax and Fiscal Policy and Education.

The original registration list can be viewed here on documentcloud and a searchable version of the list can be viewed below:

Photograph of power plant by Benita Welter.

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