The American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing organization that links conservative legislators to corporations better known as ALEC, is in Washington this week for their “Policy Summit.” They posted a copy of a 40-page memo for their “Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force” on their website. It’s as outrageous as you’d imagine, only more so.
This year ALEC has linked up with Rick Berman the corporate PR consultant known for setting up front groups to attack public interest organizations. He’s on the agenda to talk about his “Big Green Radicals” attack on groups such as Food & Water Watch. But that’s just the beginning of ALEC’s reactionary agenda.
ALEC is pushing a range of policies that will be bad for our country, our environment, and our citizens. They have draft proposals of resolutions for state legislatures calling for state regulation of fracking and for expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling. And, they have draft legislation to undermine the Endangered Species Act.
Probably the craziest proposal they have is a resolution calling for the dissolution of the Environmental Protection Agency. This is an old goal of major polluters and their paid hacks in Washington. What’s new and frightening about ALEC’s proposal is its call to replace the EPA with a 300-member committee made up of employees of the 50 states’ environmental departments. The committee would decide which regulations should be kept and which should be gotten rid of, and all enforcement of any environmental regulations would fall strictly to the states.
The plan would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that in 24 states next year Republicans – the major source of ALEC’s influence – will be in complete control of state government.
It’s clear, ALEC, Berman, and their friends in Congress like Sen. James Inhofe are gearing up to undermine our environmental protections. Whether through state resolutions, absurd attacks on public interest groups, or climate denial in Washington we know their agenda. But we aren’t going to back down or be intimidated by their attacks on us or our environment.