What do you think when you hear the name ALEC (short for, as you probably already know, American Legislative Exchange Council)?
This monster that lies in shadows describes itself this way:
A nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.
Here’s what they really are: a loose alliance of reactionary legislators from every state, who gather create odious model legislation — templates, if you will — for legislators across the country to introduce and pass, if they can find enough sheep to follow them.
Among their greatest legislative achievements (and I use the term “greatest” ironically) is the rash of “Stand Your Ground” laws being enacted across the country. These laws revive the Old West mentality of “shoot first, ask questions later) — and the resulting carnage among often innocent victims is a small price to pay to keep the coffers of the gun manufacturers filled.
But if you think this all-consuming task would keep them too busy to turn their ghoulish eyes toward the solar industry, you’d be dead wrong.
Any organization that has Exxon Mobil, the Koch Bros. (owners of the largest privately held oil company in the world), and Peabody Energy (a coal company) as members isn’t going to stand around and let solar destroy their patrons’ businesses.
So we get the Orwellian “Electricity Freedom Act,” a sample piece of legislation that argues Renewable Energy Standards (RES) are a “tax” on grid-users. If that sounds familiar, it’s because these arguments have already been used by traditional utilities trying to protect their publicly financed monopolies in Arizona and Colorado. Thanks, ALEC.
Then we have “The Market-Power Renewables Act.” Despite the fact that solar has created more than 140,000 permanent jobs, ALEC and its minions call it a job destroyer. It creates a byzantine system to regulate the trading of renewable energy credits (RECs), with the goal of eliminating the RPS entirely 11 years hence.
Here’s the tell, however, that ALEC has no intention of actually protecting consumers and is only interested in increasing its patrons’ profits: The law exempts utilities from public scrutiny of their revenues from REC sales because it’s obviously outside their “revenue earned as part of a utility’s regulated operations.”
ALEC should just plaster this motto all over their renewable energy legislation, because it all has the same goal: Screw the consumers. Protect the utilities and their state-ensured profits.
Let me blunt: ALEC is a shadowy organization that does not have to let you know who backs them financially (thanks, Citizens United). That’s why it’s incumbent on us — all of us — to monitor what they’re doing. When they come to your state to destroy your livelihood, you need to sound the alarm as loudly as possible.
This is not a conflict for the faint-of-heart. The only way to win is to hold the people ALEC owns in your state accountable. Don’t let them take away what you’ve worked so hard to build.
This is your fight. The only way you lose is if you refuse to engage. The choice is in your hands — don’t let ALEC make it for you.