Greenpeace letter to PacifiCorp regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Greenpeace letter to PacifiCorp regarding American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)


Gregory E. Abel, Chairman and CEO

Michael G. Dunn, President and CEO (PacifiCorp Energy)

February 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Greg Abel and Mr. Michael Dunn,

We are writing to express our concern for the extensive support provided by PacifiCorp to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and request PacifiCorp 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]

PacifiCorp has been a documented member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force. 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 statements published in PacifiCorp’s 2012 annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which states, “PacifiCorp has pursued additional renewable resources as a viable, economical and environmentally prudent means of supplying electricity and complying with laws and regulations.”[v]

PacifiCorp’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan notes PacifiCorp’s participation in Renewable Portfolio Standard laws in Washington, Oregon and California,[vi] and while material on PacifiCorp’s website proudly points to its “pioneering commitment to renewable energy,”[vii] ALEC member legislators and alumni have attempted to weaken or repeal RPS laws in at least 15 states in recent years, including Oregon and Washington. [viii]

If PacifiCorp has already disassociated itself with ALEC, we request confirmation. If ALEC continues to receive support or membership dues from PacifiCorp, we request that PacifiCorp discontinue such a relationship to ensure its own stated role in climate change efforts are not undermined.

I anticipate your response and I’m happy to provide any clarification or additional resources informing our concerns upon request. We have expressed the same concern to your parent company, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.


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] Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, “ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row,” The Guardian, 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] PacifiCorp 2012 10-K filing, p. 15, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, accessed Feb. 2014

[vi] 2013 Integrated Resource Plan, PacifiCorp, P. 45, April 30, 2013. Accessed Feb. 2014.

[vii] PacifiCorp, “Our Wind Energy Resources,” 2013

[viii] Documentation of ALEC legislators attempting to weaken RPS laws in these states is on file at Greenpeace USA.