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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

BP Says 'Bye-Bye' to Conservative Group ALEC


BP is the latest company to leave the  American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative organization better known as ALEC. The organization bills itself as working to “advance limited government, free markets and federalism at the state level.” It does its work through a “nonpartisan public-private partnership” with state legislators and companies, the organization says.

The oil and gas company chose not to renew its ALEC membership, a BP spokesperson told the National Journal, which first reported on the company’s departure. BP told ALEC it was leaving the organization back in December.

"We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations, and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC," the BP spokesperson said.

Over 100 companies have left ALEC in recent years

BP is among over 100 companies to leave ALEC in recent years. The companies that have left ALEC include Yahoo, Yelp, Facebook and eBay. Fellow oil-and-gas company Occidental Petroleum also left ALEC, as did defense technology company Northrop Grumman.

Google was perhaps the most dramatic and explicit about why it was leaving the organization. Back in September, over 50 organizations sent Google a letter asking the company to leave ALEC. Google didn’t respond to the letter, which asked the company to live up to its motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” by divesting from ALEC. However, about a week later Google chairman Eric Schmidt said during an NPR interview that the tech company’s ALEC membership "was some sort of mistake." He accused ALEC of "literally lying" about climate change.

Environmental groups are happy with BP's decision

Environmental groups have urged BP and other companies to leave ALEC, so they are rightfully excited by the news. That includes the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy for UCS, stated that he, along with the organization's president, Ken Kimmell, “asked senior BP officials to take this step last fall.”

Frumhoff added that the UCS is “gratified that they have listened and that a growing number of people and groups are calling on fossil fuel companies to end their support for ALEC.”

A database by Climate Accountability Institute shows that BP is among 90 companies responsible for extracting the fossil fuels that have caused about two-thirds of all industrial carbon emissions. More than 2.3 percent of all industrial carbon emissions come from BP’s products.

Greenpeace is another environmental organization happy about BP’s departure from ALEC: A blog post from the organization states that the departure of fossil fuel companies like BP and Occidental Petroleum “is a big blow to ALEC.”

Indeed it is a big blow to ALEC and makes one wonder what company will be next to leave the organization.

Image credit: Mike Mozart

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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