North Carolina Rate-Payers Deserve A Clear Answer & Spotlight on The Facts
CHARLOTTE—According to recently leaked documents published by The Guardian, Duke Energy has let its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lapse in the past year. ALEC is a shadowy-corporate lobby group fronting as a charitable non-profit.
Essentially ALEC is a speed-dating service which marries corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers. ALEC hosts quarterly meetings at lavish resort locations around the country where corporate lobbyists can wine and dine state legislators from around the nation — all as a tax-deductible expense. Together lobbyists and elected officials vote as equals on “model legislation” designed to benefits the corporate-backers’ bottom lines. The lawmakers then dutifully introduce the legislation in state legislatures.
North Carolina is not immune. House Speaker Thom Tillis was ALEC’s “Legislator of the Year” in 2011.
Major corporations have been leaving ALEC at a furious pace ever since the organization was embroiled in the Trayvon Martin controversy. ALEC had been pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country to benefit the NRA and gun manufacturers. At last week’s ALEC annual conference in shockingly insensitive remarks, keynote speaker Sen. Ted Cruz encouraged ALEC to “Stand Your Ground” in the face of withering criticism of the corporate organization’s move into gun and voter suppression legislation.
Duke Energy was not one of the corporations that made a public exit from ALEC. In fact, in May 2012—just after the ALEC-Stand Your Ground controversy exploded—Duke hosted an ALEC quarterly meeting in Charlotte.
Since that time, ALEC has tried to abolish Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards in states around the nation, including North Carolina. Yet Duke has publicly favored North Carolina’s REPS. Similarly, ALEC wants states to begin taxing homeowners who use solar panels to light their homes.
Does Duke support ALEC’s push to raise taxes on solar homes?
Does Duke support an organization tied so closely to a law that makes it easier for people to get away with murder?
If not, then Duke Energy doesn’t need to let its ALEC membership lapse, but Duke should publicly withdraw from this organization that is opposed to Duke’s stated public positions on clean energy.
“North Carolina’s electricity rate-payers deserve to know if their money is going to support a corporate-lobby group opposed to clean energy production and laws that make gun violence legal,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress North Carolina. “Rate-payers should thank Duke Energy if and when the electric utility publicly withdraws from ALEC. Until then, Duke is supporting a secretive corporate bill mill which is clearly trying to sabotage green energy efforts in state legislatures across the nation.”