Greenpeace letter to Arizona Public Service (APS) and Pinnacle West regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Greenpeace letter to Arizona Public Service (APS) and Pinnacle West regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)


Donald E. Brandt, Chairman, CEO and President

David P. Falck, Executive VP and General Counsel

Gretchen Kitchel, Government Affairs Director

Jessica Pacheco, Government Affairs Director

Ann Becker, VP of Environmental and Chief Sustainability Officer

February 20, 2014


Dear Mr. Don Brandt, Mr. David Falck, Ms. Gretchen Kitchel, Ms. Jessica Pacheco and Ms. Ann Becker,

We are writing to express our concern for the extensive support provided by Arizona Public Service (APS) and holding company Pinnacle West Capital Corporation to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). We request that both companies disassociate and stop funding ALEC immediately.

ALEC has become increasingly controversial for distributing “Stand Your Ground” state legislation and establishing policy roadblocks for legitimate voters.[i] ALEC’s aggressive anti-environmental positions have made headlines, including a poorly-received characterization of rooftop solar panel owners as “freeriders” for not paying fees to utilities when feeding excess generated electricity into the grid.[ii]

ALEC’s controversial policies are crafted through a questionable process. The lobbyists and state lawmakers in ALEC task forces meet without public accountability. A precarious relationship with federal lobbying laws has now prompted ALEC to create a 501c4 sister organization to avoid potential actions from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. This is verified by notes provided to ALEC’s board of directors, composed of state legislators.[iii]

Pinnacle has been a documented member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force, and APS recently rejoined ALEC after disassociating for several months. The policies produced by this task force include attacks on renewable portfolio standards, interference with federal efforts to reduce pollution and consistent opposition to limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

ALEC has been at this a long time: notes circulated to attendees of a 1998 meeting at the American Petroleum Institute name ALEC among organizations enlisted to block national and international climate policies by undermining the American public’s understanding of climate science.[iv]

ALEC’s unfolding history against climate and clean energy policies doesn’t reflect recognition APS affords the issue in its Climate Change Management Plan, nor in Pinnacle West’s 2012 annual report, which appropriately recognizes, “Climate change is one of the most significant sustainability issues facing not only our company, but the world in general.”[v]

By funding ALEC’s ongoing development of anti-clean energy policies, APS undermines its own public commitments. “We believe investing in renewable energy makes sense, providing environmental benefits and an economic boost for Arizona,” APS’ website states before detailing its renewable energy portfolio.

Pinnacle West’s 2012 Annual Report estimates that APS is on track to exceed 2015 renewable energy targets in Arizona’s renewable energy standard—the same type of law ALEC legislators and alumni attempted to undermine last year, including in Arizona.

We request that APS and Pinnacle West discontinue all association with ALEC to ensure the companies’ stated role in climate change mitigation is not undermined.

I anticipate your response and I’m happy to provide any clarification or additional resources informing our concerns upon request.


Gabe Wisniewski

Energy Campaign Director

Greenpeace USA


[i] Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, “ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row,” The Guardian, 12/3/2013

Ethan Magoc, “Flurry of Photo ID Laws Tied to Conservative Washington Group,” News21, August 12, 2012

[ii] Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington, “ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy,” The Guardian, 12/4/2013

[iii] Ibid Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, 12/3/2013

[iv] Joe Walker, “Draft Global Climate Science Communications Plan,” email to members of the Global Climate Science Team convened by the American Petroleum Institute. See also New York Times: “Industrial Group Plans to Battle Climate Treaty,” 4/26/1998

[v]Climate Change Management Plan,” Arizona Public Service Company, May 2009, accessed Feb. 2014

 “Momentum,” 2012 Annual Report, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, accessed Feb. 2014