Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
May
2012
23

ALEC’s Latest Target: Wind Power



A network of ultra-conservative think tanks is stepping up the effort to demonize clean energy in advance of the November election. These groups plan to establish a fake grassroots movement based on misinformation and apply pressure to politicians running on clean energy policy.

With heavy hitters like Americans For Prosperity already making $6 million ad buys to attack President Obama’s pro-wind stance, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is drawing up model legislation and conducting email and phone campaigns, according to The Guardian:

Among its main recommendations, the proposal calls for a national PR campaign aimed at causing “subversion in message of industry so that it effectively because so bad that no one wants to admit in public they are for it…”

The proposal was discussed at a meeting of self-styled ‘wind warriors’ from across the country in Washington DC last February.

“These documents show for the first time that local Nimby anti-wind groups are co-ordinating and working with national fossil-fuel funded advocacy groups to wreck the wind industry,” said Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances, the accountability group which unearthed the proposal and other documents.

The grasstroturf movement would effectively give the fossil fuel industry a tax-free outlet to destroy public opinion on clean energy while narrowly toeing the line of the law.

The think tank American Tradition Institute is among those interested in destroying the credibility of the wind sector whose growth would eliminate many of our old boy network power needs:

It suggests setting up “dummy businesses” to buy anti-wind billboards, and creating a “counter-intelligence branch” to track the wind energy industry. It also calls for spending $750,000 to create an organisation with paid staff and tax-exempt status dedicated to building public opposition to state and federal government policies encouraging the wind energy industry.

These revelations come as producers of wind witness the GOP’s continued refusal to extend wind tax credits to key providers across the country.

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2 Comments on “ALEC’s Latest Target: Wind Power”

  1. ALEC was never involved in any strategy meeting. I never attended any such meeting and was not aware of any “memo”.

    ALEC is supportive of all forms of energy generation but we are opposed to market manipulation in the form of mandates that limit the production of electricity to only politically preferable technologies.

    The free market should be the principal determinant of which products reach the marketplace.

    1. Todd, thanks for your comment. I have amended the sentence regarding the memo to clarify that the anti-wind power email and phone campaign attributed to ALEC by the Guardian was separate from the memo they mentioned.

      Generally speaking, though, your idealization of the free market retains value in theory while in practice it has been undermined countless times (that is to say, too many times to consider beginning to recount) rendering this approach altogether dysfunctional. If powerful actors within the market could be relied upon to avoid collusion and unscrupulous leverage of power over politics even a sliver of a fraction of the time then a true conversation about free market economics might be possible. But, since we are decades beyond that tipping point, and frankly may have never come within acres of achieving anything resembling this ideal of the common interest playing a role in the outcomes of our time, it is difficult to take blanket statements about the free market as principal determinant with any seriousness IMO.

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