Is ALEC-Dumping Trend a Good Sign for Solar?


What can money buy? Apparently, not everything. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) seems to be setting out to prove that.

The Koch-funded lobbying group has been fighting solar and other renewables without much success. Last year, its efforts focused on attempts to do away with states’ renewables portfolio standards (RPS). When that failed, the group shifted its efforts to fighting solar net metering laws around the country. So far, its record on that front is not much better.

As if that weren’t enough good news for solar, ALEC’s status has been plummeting lately. The secretive group hasn’t managed to stay in stealth mode. As more corporations are catching on to its activities, and more pressure is mounting to do something about climate change, there’s been a rash of ALEC-dumping.

Google has been prominent among the dumpers, with chairman Eric Schmidt saying of ALEC, in relation to its views on climate change, “we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”

That followed Microsoft’s announcement that it would break up with ALEC over the climate change issue, among other things. Google, in turn, was soon followed by a Facebook “unfriending” — which led Yelp to confirm it had already decided to part ways with ALEC. Although Yelp and Facebook did not explicitly mention climate change as a reason for the dumping, the companies were among many getting pressure to distance themselves from ALEC.

While these have been some of the recent high-profile break-ups, over 106 corporations and nonprofits have severed their ALEC connections — including mainstream names like Coca Cola, Kraft, General Electric, Walmart, and General Motors.

At least one fossil-fuel player is also getting in on the action. Just a few days ago, Occidental Petroleum, a large oil and natural-gas company, jumped on the ALEC-dumping bandwagon. This is a significant action from a company with a track record of supporting conservative candidates.

As Jay Riestenberg of Common Cause told National Journal, “It says something that oil companies are leaving now. They just don’t see it as worth it anymore.”

Is all this a sign that ALEC’s power is waning? It seems to be. Perhaps even a wealthy group like this one is no match for the power of the sun