A new, left-wing group called ALEC Exposed has popped up taking aim at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) noting that the organization brings legislators from across the country together to, surprise, exchange ideas about legislation. ALEC Exposed is also unhappy that businesses have a seat at the table during discussions.
Free-market think tanks also have a seat at ALEC’s table. For instance, I sit on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, a committee that offers ideas about how to harness free-market ideas to improve environmental sustainability. I don’t agree with everything that comes out of the committee (I was one of only two “no” votes on a recent proposal before the committee), but there are several effective ideas discussed and formalized.
So desperate is Center for Media and Democracy, the group behind ALEC Exposed, to attack the group, it is clear they have decided that thinking (and proof reading) only slows their efforts to hatchet ALEC.
Take, for example, a piece of ALEC model legislation I helped draft called the “Climate Accountability Act.” The legislation requires companies that contract with the government on carbon-reduction projects to quantify the amount of carbon that will be reduced in the contract. If the business does not deliver that level of reduction, they must make it up in other ways. Under the model legislation, taxpayers are assured they receive the promised environmental benefit.
ALEC Exposed, however, analyzes the legislation this way:
This “model” legislation attempts to create hurdles to state agencies attempting to regulation [sic] carbon gasses by attempting to impose cost assessments on carbon regulation, without any parallel accounting required of businesses that are contributing to climate change.
If they didn’t take the time to proof read their analysis, we shouldn’t be surprised they didn’t take the time to read or understand the bill. The Act imposes no obligations on government. The only obligations imposed are on businesses that contract with government to reduce carbon emissions. So, the critique has it completely backward.
Second, this demonstrates they don’t really care about achieving actual carbon emissions reductions — they only want to appear that they care. Why else would they complain about holding businesses accountable for failing to deliver the environmental benefits taxpayers paid for?
Finally, they complain about imposing “cost assessments” on carbon regulation. This bill doesn’t do that, but what exactly is the problem with such assessments? Would they be supportive of a policy that spent $1 million to reduce one ton of carbon emissions? What if they could get 50,000 times as much reduction for the same price? They don’t want to know. Their goal is political, not to help the environment.
Again and again, we see environmental policies failing to deliver the environmental results they promised. The approach of ALEC’s critics to the issue demonstrates why. Environmental groups and politicians focus more on appearance than reality. In the words of President Obama, there are some “who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win” — or to see the environment benefit. That’s obviously the approach of ALEC’s critics and it exposes their ignorance.