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Is Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group ACCCE on the Verge of Implosion?

10/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UPDATE: Pete Altman at NRDC's Switchboard blog has discovered that ALCOA appears to have also jumped ship from ACCCE.

Duke Energy announced today that it has left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the dirty coal front group lobbying against Congressional action on climate change.  Will other corporate members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership soon follow in Duke’s footsteps by leaving ACCCE?

According to a report in the National Journal today, Duke Energy "left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy on Tuesday over differences with "influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010."

Duke did the right thing. The company realized that its membership in ACCCE did not square with its role with the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of industry and environmental groups working together to support federal action on climate change.  Duke also recently quit the National Association of Manufacturers in part because of that group’s work opposing climate legislation.

When will all the other companies belonging to USCAP -- which supports (and crafted the basis for) the Waxman-Markey climate and energy legislation passed by the House in June -- but who are also members of ACCCE, the American Petroleum Institute and/or the National Association of Manufacturers -- which have all lobbied against climate action -- finally realize the disconnect between these two positions?

The National Journal sums up some of the contradictory memberships:

General Electric, Alstom Power and Caterpillar are members of both the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. The former is a pro-coal group that opposed the recent House energy legislation, and the latter is an industry-environmentalist coalition whose recommendations provided much of the basis for the that bill, which passed the House by a vote of 219-212 in June. On a similar note, ConocoPhillips, Siemens and BP America are members of both the American Petroleum Institute (which opposed the bill) and USCAP.

Now that Duke Energy has taken a stand against ACCCE's failed tactics, this chink in the armor might lead ACCCE down the same road as the Global Climate Coalition, a climate change denier group that Duke also belonged to back in the 1990s.

The Global Climate Coalition imploded in the late 1990s after similar disagreements between its member companies about climate change science.  BP was the first to quit the GCC, citing the fact that “the link between greenhouse gases and climate change is conclusively proven,” and it no longer made sense to belong to a group which denied the science.  American Electric Power, Dow, Dupont, Royal Dutch Shell, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Southern Company, Texaco and General Motors all left soon after, and the Global Climate Coalition closed shop in 2002.

It seems likely the same could happen with ACCCE, and not soon enough.  New industry front groups like ACCCE pop up periodically, using the same old, tired tactics recycled by polluting industries (which they learned from Big Tobacco) to fight against public health and environmental protections.  But these front groups almost always implode under the weight of their own lies and extremism.

Bravo to Duke Energy for taking a stand and abandoning ACCCE’s sinking ship. Who's next?

Here is a corporate membership list for the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (with ACCCE / API / NAM BoD membership status):

AES

Alcoa

Alstom Power (ACCCE member)

Boston Scientific

BP America (API member)

Caterpillar (ACCCE member, NAM member/ sits on Board of Directors)

Chrysler (NAM member/ sits on Board of Directors)

ConocoPhillips (API member, NAM member/ sits on Board of Directors)

Dow (API member, NAM member/ sits on Board of Directors)

Duke Energy

DuPont

Exelon

Ford (NAM member/ sits on Board of Directors)

FPL Group

General Electric (ACCCE member, API member, NAM member/Board of Directors)

General Motors

John Deere

Johnson & Johnson

NRG Energy

PepsiCo

PG&E

PNM Resources

Rio Tinto

Shell (API member)

Siemens (API member)