The Guardian reports that American Electric Power has left the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council because of its opposition to action on renewable energy and climate change.


A spokeswoman for AEP told the Guardian that the decision was made as the company attempts to help implement the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s strategy to curb carbon dioxide pollution from the nation’s power plants.

“We let (Alec) know that we won’t be renewing our membership in 2016,” she said. “We are reallocating our resources as we focus on our work with the states around the Clean Power Plan. There are a variety of reasons for the decision. We have long been involved in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

AEP is the latest business to flee Alec, with Royal Dutch Shell specifically citing the controversial organisation’s stance on climate change as a reason for ending its membership. BP also recently ended its involvement with the free-market lobby group, while companies including Amazon, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Facebook and Google all left the organisation over its stance on gun control in the wake of the 2012 killing of teenager Trayvon Martin.

This is interesting in several respects, mostly due to Arkansas’s traditional position in the rear echelon of states, particularly today on environmental matters.

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The Arkansas business and legislative establishment (and politicians from Gov. Asa Hutchinson to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to Sen. Tom Cotton) have been howling nonstop about the Clean Power Plan and anything else to clean air and water. Of late, a popular target has been a wind energy power line. The politicians insist clean energy means ruinous utility cost increases.

And speaking of utilities and irony: One supplier of coal-fired power in Arkansas is none other than SWEPCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power.

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Needless to say, big delegations of Republican legislators attend ALEC conferences and dutifully attempt to pass ALEC cookie cutter state legislation into the Arkansas statute books, particularly the sort favored by the Koch political organization.

Change IS possible. The article notes AEP generated three-fourths of its power with coal in 2005, but the percentage is down to about 50 percent today.

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