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Google, Facebook Pull Out of ALEC

Google, Facebook Pull Out of ALEC

The bloodlust of climate change supporters was satiated a bit more on Tuesday as it looked likely that Facebook will end its relationship with the American Legislative Council (ALEC). 

The termination of the relationship is ostensibly because of ALEC’s fight against the climate change agenda, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Facebook’s move followed Monday’s announcement by Google chairman Eric Schmidt that his company would sever its ties with ALEC.

A spokesman for Facebook told the Chronicle on Tuesday: “We re-evaluate our memberships on an annual basis and are in that process now. While we have tried to work within ALEC to bring that organization closer to our view on some key issues, it seems unlikely that we will make sufficient progress, so we are not likely to renew our membership in 2015.”

Schmidt, appearing on a radio show, bluntly answered a caller’s complaint about Google’s association with ALEC by saying the affiliation was “a mistake… 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 Sierra Club, the Service Employees International Union, and the AFL-CIO had joined 50 other groups in September to demand Google end its relationship with ALEC, according to the Los Angeles Times.

ALEC has ties with Exxon, Koch Industries and other fossil fuel businesses as well as boasting more than 300 corporate and 2,000 legislative members. The organization writes pro-business legislation, and tries to counter climate change advocates forcing harsher standards on businesses, whether in environmental, labor, civil rights or public health.

Pressure from climate change activists catalyzed the termination of relationships between ALEC and Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Electric, Microsoft, and General Motors.

ALEC’s executive director, Lisa B. Nelson, was quoted in the Chronicle saying that “it is unfortunate to learn Google has ended its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council as a result of public pressure from left-leaning individuals and organizations who intentionally confuse free market policy perspectives for climate change denial.” 

She added that there was a recent roundtable discussion on renewable energy and climate change between ALEC and groups such as Google during ALEC’s annual meeting in Dallas. She stated that ALEC was hoping that the attendees “could find common ground on issues of climate change, energy generation and government mandates. And I personally intend to continue this work.”

Brant Olson, campaign director for the Forecast the Facts environmental organization, was still unsatisfied by Google’s decision, and was quoted by the Chronicle saying: “it is still funding the campaigns of climate deniers in Congress and on K Street. It is still shooting itself in the foot in terms of its climate goals.”

Yahoo was noncommittal, according to the Chronicle. A Yahoo spokesperson said on Tuesday that “at this time, we are members of ALEC and limit our engagement to their Communications and Technology Task Force… At Yahoo, we engage in the political process in a variety of ways to promote and to protect the long-term interests of our users and our company. One of the ways we do so is through memberships in organizations that help advance our business objectives. We may not agree with all the positions of an organization, its leaders, or its supporters.”

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