Co-authored by Kate Melges and Katie McChesney
This afternoon, students and youth with the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition (OSEC) and Greenpeace stopped by Duke Energy’s Ohio Headquarters in Cincinnati to deliver a box of over 150,000 petitions and give personal testimony demanding that Duke dump ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council).
Unfortunately we were not welcome. After a few minutes of explaining the reason for our visit and asking again to deliver the petitions to Julie Janson, Duke Energy Ohio’s President. We were told we needed to leave the property immediately but could leave the petitions with the guard.
Amanda Morgan, a student at the University of Cincinnati said that as a young voter in Ohio, a Cincinnati resident and a Duke Energy ratepayer, she is asking Duke to stop financially supporting ALEC. ALEC has been corrupting our democracy in Ohio and nationally.
ALEC makes it possible for corporations to create state laws that will directly benefit their bottom line. A few months ago Ohio passed a bill that was heavily influenced by ALEC. SB315, a fracking loophole bill was created in ALEC’s “environment” task force. A couple of key Ohio legislators involved in the task force brought the bill back to Ohio and used ALEC’s model to create SB315.
Duke Energy talks a lot about being a forward thinking company and supporter of clean energy.
Despite its rhetoric, through ALEC Duke supports the creation of anti-environmental bills by giving tens of thousands of dollars and providing staff to help ALEC oversee state operations in South Carolina and Indiana. By dumping ALEC Duke would take a step in the direction of being a real leader in renewable energy.
Tuesday in Charlotte, Duke Energy’s National Headquarters, our friends and Energy Action Coalition asked CEO Jim Rogers if his company would dump ALEC. Mr. Rogers wouldn’t give an answer but said he could assure us that he is listening.
Even though we weren’t allowed to send our message to Duke’s Ohio office today, we won’t stop trying. We will be following up with phone calls and emails to Julie Janson to make sure she gives our message to Mr. Rogers.