ALEC Exposed: "Warming Up to Climate Change"
As the U.S. suffers through catastrophic tornadoes, heat waves, and other climate extremes -- no doubt just a small taste of what the climate crisis will bring in the future -- polluting industries and the politicians that serve them want to convince you that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is actually a good thing.
Last December, almost like clockwork, Republican legislators in state houses across the nation sounded the alarm about an "out of control" Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). What had the EPA suddenly done to earn such criticism? The EPA had dared to take the first baby steps towards regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
By January 2011, Indiana became the first state to pass a resolution urging Congress to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (by defunding the EPA if necessary), to impose a two year moratorium on any new air quality regulations, and urging the federal government to complete a study identifying all planned regulatory activity by the EPA and its impact on the economy, jobs, and American economic competitiveness.
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Protecting Factory Farming from Regulation
One of the lesser publicized ventures of Koch Industries was its large-scale confined animal feed operations (CAFOs). At one point, Koch Beef Company was one of the largest cattle feeders in the U.S. When it sought to increase one of its already huge operations by 20,000 head of cattle, workers living a few hundred feet away expressed concerns for their health, and neighbors complained about an exponential increase in smell from Koch’s CAFO. But Koch persuaded friendly state regulators that the neighbors' concerns lacked “technical merit”-- although it ultimately divested the feed lots, while maintaining its Matador Cattle Company and grazing operations near Yellowstone National Park, along with other agricultural operations.
Is ALEC interested in protecting CAFOs? You bet. One of its bills, the “Right to Farm Act,” would bar any lawsuits by neighbors claiming nuisance from any activities that are typical in farming, including industrial agriculture. If this bill passed, it would likely benefit ALEC's agribusinesses members.
Prohibiting Local Efforts on GMO Food and Food Safety
Another model bill
from ALEC's member corporations prohibits local, city or county governments from limiting pesticide use, requiring that communities do whatever officials in the state capitol decide to allow in distant towns. Another bill
places the same restrictions on local efforts to restrict bio-engineered and GMO crops. If these model bills become law, local governments would be prohibited from responding to their community's concerns about pesticide use or the dangers of GMO crops. ALEC allegedly supports "federalism," or state's rights -- a theory premised on the idea that state government can better represent and respond to local interests than a more centralized federal government. But ALEC apparently does not apply this logic to relations between local and state government.
This information is available for download as a one-page fact sheet here.
READ the "Model Bills" HERE