Left-Wing Group Exposes Its Environmental Ignorance

A new, left-wing group called ALEC Exposed has popped up taking aim at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) noting that the organization brings legislators from across the country together to, surprise, exchange ideas about legislation. ALEC Exposed is also unhappy that businesses have a seat at the table during discussions.

Free-market think tanks also have a seat at ALEC’s table. For instance, I sit on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, a committee that offers ideas about how to harness free-market ideas to improve environmental sustainability. I don’t agree with everything that comes out of the committee (I was one of only two “no” votes on a recent proposal before the committee), but there are several effective ideas discussed and formalized.

So desperate is Center for Media and Democracy, the group behind ALEC Exposed, to attack the group, it is clear they have decided that thinking (and proof reading) only slows their efforts to hatchet ALEC.

Take, for example, a piece of ALEC model legislation I helped draft called the “Climate Accountability Act.” The legislation requires companies that contract with the government on carbon-reduction projects to quantify the amount of carbon that will be reduced in the contract. If the business does not deliver that level of reduction, they must make it up in other ways. Under the model legislation, taxpayers are assured they receive the promised environmental benefit.

ALEC Exposed, however, analyzes the legislation this way:

This “model” legislation attempts to create hurdles to state agencies attempting to regulation [sic] carbon gasses by attempting to impose cost assessments on carbon regulation, without any parallel accounting required of businesses that are contributing to climate change.

If they didn’t take the time to proof read their analysis, we shouldn’t be surprised they didn’t take the time to read or understand the bill. The Act imposes no obligations on government. The only obligations imposed are on businesses that contract with government to reduce carbon emissions. So, the critique has it completely backward.

Second, this demonstrates they don’t really care about achieving actual carbon emissions reductions — they only want to appear that they care. Why else would they complain about holding businesses accountable for failing to deliver the environmental benefits taxpayers paid for?

Finally, they complain about imposing “cost assessments” on carbon regulation. This bill doesn’t do that, but what exactly is the problem with such assessments? Would they be supportive of a policy that spent $1 million to reduce one ton of carbon emissions? What if they could get 50,000 times as much reduction for the same price? They don’t want to know. Their goal is political, not to help the environment.

Again and again, we see environmental policies failing to deliver the environmental results they promised. The approach of ALEC’s critics to the issue demonstrates why. Environmental groups and politicians focus more on appearance than reality. In the words of President Obama, there are some “who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win” — or to see the environment benefit. That’s obviously the approach of ALEC’s critics and it exposes their ignorance.

Comments (10)

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  1. Simon Denomie says:

    ‎”(B) Any state contracts required to implement climate expenditure must include
    cost per ton of CO2e reduction in the performance portion of the contract.

    Section 4. {Climate Accountability}
    (A) The state shall regularly audit to ensure that climate expenditure contracts are
    meeting performance standards for cost per ton of CO2e. If contractors are not in
    compliance, they shall:

    (1) Provide certified carbon offsets equivalent to the difference between actual
    emissions reductions and contracted emissions reductions, or

    (2) Refund a portion of the contract funds until the cost per ton of CO2e
    reduction meets the benchmark included in the contract.

    (B) Agencies managing climate expenditure contracts shall regularly provide
    reports to the legislature outlining the performance of those individual contracts,

    (1) Total tons of CO2e reduced

    (2) Total contract amount

    (3) Cost per ton of CO2e reduced

    (C) Agencies that fail to complete audits and legislative reports shall have all
    funding for all climate expenditures suspended until they meet the requirements of
    this act.”

    This directly contradicts the author’s statement-

    “If they didn’t take the time to proof read their analysis, we shouldn’t be surprised they didn’t take the time to read or understand the bill. The Act imposes no obligations on government. The only obligations imposed are on businesses that contract with government to reduce carbon emissions. So, the critique has it completely backward.”

    And I believe they want an act that regulates businesses that don’t deal with the state, as well, to help reduce total carbon emissions.

    • Todd Myers says:

      Simon, this shouldn’t be any more of an “obligation” on government than standard contract compliance that government, or anyone else, always does. In writing the model legislation I tried to avoid a situation where government agencies could simply waive the requirement for political purposes – a la Obamacare. So, I suppose that can be loosely defined as an “obligation” but I see it more as standard compliance. The burden is on the business to prove they delivered the emissions reductions.

  2. After all the fair and balanced discussion, this one line sums it up:

    “Their goal is political, not to help the environment.”

    Well said – keep up the good work

  3. Adrien Neely says:

    Thanks for exposing the not-so-hidden agenda of the leftwing “progressives” who would eventually have us all riding in 1910 horse-pulled buggies and taxed into oblivion. Now, how about exposing, once and for all, the Global Warming hoax. It is a shame that the socialist spin-masters have done such a great job of pulling off the nastiest scam in the last 35 years. It was around 1977-78 that “they” were warning us of the “New Ice Age”. What incredible crooks !

  4. Roy Cordato says:

    One of my favorite sayings comes from a WMCA swim team t-shirt that I saw many years ago–“There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.”

  5. John Minich says:

    Reductio ad absurdum can be so much fun. Take “carbon gasses, there are no carbon gasses. There are gasses that contain carbon, such as, methane, ethane, propane…., methyl-alcohol, ethyl-alcohol…., the smells coming from flowers, trees, grasses (especially when mowing the lawn), animals, (skunks make a nice example). Where do we stop reducing “carbon gasses” and still protect the environment. Oh, can we forget about the carbon dioxide from the bacteria in the roots of legumes that convert nitrogen to nitrates to add to the soil?

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