Last Thursday, Energy Action Coalition hosted a day of action calling on young people from across the country to take action by raising awareness about getting dirty money out of politics. Students within the Greenpeace Student Network, wanted to focus on Duke Energy, America’s largest utility.
Duke Energy is guilty of heavily influencing our political system on local, state and national levels, however students at Greenpeace choose to focus in on one of Duke’s dirtiest relationships. Duke Energy has an unhealthy relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Who is ALEC and why are they dirty?
ALEC is a corporate bill mill that brings state lawmakers to the table with lobbyists and lawyers from large companies (Duke Energy, ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, for example) and front groups in order to write model state laws. These include widely reported controversies like voter suppression, blocks on clean energy and pollution controls, breaking unions, the S.B.1070 law allowing racial profiling in Arizona, and the “Stand Your Ground” laws involved in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
What’s Duke got to do with it, got to do with it?
Beyond giving ALEC $116,000 since 2009, Duke Energy employees work directly with ALEC’s “Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force” to create model bills. ALEC’s anti-environmental agenda includes:
- Withdrawing states from regional climate change programs,
- Attacking state renewable energy standards,
- Obstruction of clean air and water laws,
- Keeping gas fracking chemicals secret
Students wanted to make sure Duke Energy heard loud and clear that they need to #dumpALEC. So students held a national call in day, driving in hundreds of calls encouraging Duke Energy to #dumpALEC.
From North Carolina, to Pittsburgh, to upstate New York and even Michigan students held events raising awareness about Duke’s dirty relationship.
At the University of Pittsburgh Justin Lozano said:
“Our group was able to make 40 calls into Duke with members reaching out to their friends and classmates to take action for clean energy. After our weekly meeting on Tuesday evening, we agreed to set an action item of driving at least 5 calls each. It was really uplifting to witness the enthusiasm of people telling Duke to #dumpALEC”
University of North Carolina Wilmington student Caitlin Hall said:
“Although the event lasted hours Duke Energy stopped answering calls almost immediately, sending students to voicemail. The only person I was able to talk to directly was a frazzled assistant named Sherri. She inquired as to why they were receiving so many calls about this issue and who had organized the event, probably so they could figure out how to avoid something like this in the future. Of course there’s an easy way for that to happen: Duke just needs to #dumpALEC"
It’s not only Greenpeace that is calling for an end to this relationship, groups such as Color of Change, Credo Action, Common Cause, and Energy Action Coalition are continuing to call on Duke Energy to #dumpALEC. Take action and tell Duke Energy to #dumpALEC!