Friday, May 18, 2012

ALEC’s Polluter Agenda

ALEC’s Polluter Agenda
On American Legislative Exchange Council task forces, corporate lobbyists and special interests vote as equals with elected representatives on templates to change our laws, behind closed doors with no press or public allowed to see the votes or deliberations. ALEC legislation benefits corporate profits at the expense of our environment and our health by making it easier for polluters to spoil our water and our air and by pushing climate change denial. ALEC proposals would destroy environmental regulations and health safeguards, eliminate clean energy competition, allow drilling on protected lands, and curtail recycling.

Repealing Pollution Protections

·         ALEC’s “Resolution in Opposition to EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources” opposes a Supreme Court decision that allowed the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases as pollutants. The resolution dismisses climate change concerns through misleading rhetoric.

·         ALEC’s “Resolution in Support of the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act” supports the REINS Act, legislation that would give Congress the authority to block the enforcement of numerous federal protections, including clean air and water laws, safeguards for mine workers, rules that prohibit the sale of tobacco to children, and even protection from discrimination.

·         ALEC’s “State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives” would pull states out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the Western Climate Initiative, programs to cut greenhouse gases and carbon-dioxide emissions.  It also uses language that denies that climate change is occurring.

·         ALEC’s “Climate Accountability Act” creates hurdles for state agencies attempting to regulate carbon gases by imposing cost assessments on carbon regulation, without any parallel accounting required of corporations whose actions are contributing to the climate changes underway.

·         ALEC’s “Resolution in Opposition of Carbon Dioxide Emission Standards” opposes environmental protections on carbon dioxide emissions.

·         ALEC’s “Conditioning Regulation of Non-Pollutant Emissions on Science Act” would impose new burdens on state regulatory efforts by creating a complex process the state must go through before passing new environmental protection regulations. The act would keep a state from responding quickly to public health issues.

·         ALEC’s “Intrastate Coal and Use Act” would prevent the EPA from overruling state permits for coal mining and prevent federal regulation of dirty coal products, like coal ash, if all the coal operations are conducted within the borders of a single state.

·         ALEC’s “Electricity Freedom Act” is an attack on states with plans requiring companies to get a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, undermining support for cleaner energy development.

Opposing Public Health Safeguards

·         ALEC’s “Voluntary Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act” gives legal protection to corporations against victims of lead poisoning.

·         ALEC’s “Environmental Priorities Act” requires that state environmental protections be approved by a corporate-backed panel where there is no representative from a public interest environmental group.

·         ALEC’s “Resolution Supporting the Private Ownership of Property” expresses opposition to public interest regulations that protect public health or the environment such as pollution emission limits.

·         ALEC’s “Environmental Services Public-Private Partnership Act” privatizes public water and sewage services and would prohibit local governments from requiring contractors to meet labor standards.

·         ALEC’s “Resolution on Packaging and the Municipal Solid Waste Stream” expresses opposition to waste reduction and mandated recycling laws.

·         ALEC’s “Resolution to Retain State Authority over Coal Ash as Non-Hazardous Waste” opposes federal regulation of coal combustion waste (known as coal ash) as hazardous, although coal ash contains large quantities of toxic metals, including mercury and arsenic, that can get in our water.

Blocking Conservation

·         ALEC’s “Eminent Domain Authority for Federal Lands Act” would authorize state governments to open federal public land -- such as national parks and protected wilderness areas -- for oil, gas, and coal exploration.  It would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretation that Congress has broader power to enact laws to manage federal land than states in Kleppe v. New Mexico (1976).

·         ALEC’s “Regulatory Costs Fairness Act” and “The Private Property Protection Act” make taxpayers liable to land owners, including corporations, that claim their property value is diminished by government regulations, including laws that protect neighbors from polluters.

Criminalizing Environmental Protection

·         ALEC’s “Environmental Corrupt Organizations - Preventative Legislation and Neutralization (ECO-PLAN) Act” criminalizes environmental activism and gives the government the power to defund and shut down alleged “eco-terrorist” activities, but does not provide a definition of “animal and ecological terrorism.” This bill potentially gives law enforcement broad discretion to silence critics of environmentally hazardous corporate activities and business practices.

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