ALEC, the free-market lobby group that has focused efforts to undermine state renewable energy and climate laws, is losing allies left and right lately. A few weeks ago, Microsoft left the group after a push from environmental activists, and yesterday afternoon, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said his company would be doing the same.
In an interview on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, Schimdt said Google’s membership in ALEC was going to expire at the end of this year. “The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake, and so we’re trying to not do that in the future,” Schmidt said of the funding.
He noted that ALEC, which stands for American Legislative Exchange Council, was lying about climate change: “Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people–they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”
The decision adds to the list of companies dropping their ties with the group over a wide range of controversial stances it has taken. As Co.Exist wrote last year:
To date, at least 50 major corporations have cut ties with ALEC, including Amazon, Kraft, Pepsi, and most recently, Sallie Mae, due to a number of the group’s distasteful lobbying efforts on behalf of controversial initiatives like voter ID laws and Stand Your Ground. But at ALEC’s annual conference in Chicago this August, it became clear that Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Microsoft are all serving on a technology task force for the libertarian group, according to news reports. A Yelp executive gave a presentation focused on ways to limit lawsuits that stifle free speech, an issue not related to climate or energy policy.
In a statement, Forecast the Facts, a climate change group, applauded Google for the decision yesterday, but noted that Google should also review its $699,000 in political donations since 2008 made to Congress members that deny climate change. Meanwhile, some tech companies including Facebook appear to remain a part of ALEC. But with Google’s and Microsoft’s decisions, that may not hold for long.