Environment, Energy, and Agriculture

From ALEC Exposed
Jump to: navigation, search

Rewriting the Rules about the Environment, Energy, and Agriculture

Environment, Energy, and Agriculture
This page shows how bills pushed by ALEC corporations work to undermine environmental protections, limit the ability of local government to manage land use, and protect corporate polluters. These "model bills" and resolutions thwart efforts to address climate change, streamline siting of nuclear power plants, and oppose efforts to address hazardous coal waste.

Through ALEC, corporations have both a VOICE and a VOTE on specific changes to state laws on these issues through these model bills. Do you?

How the bills undermine protections for our environment

Energy companies, corporate polluters, factory farms and their politician allies voted to change environmental rules by:

For a full list of bills from this section, click here

This information is available for download as a two-page fact sheet here.

Eliminating Democratic Land Use Controls

One model bill from ALEC's member corporations would repeal ALL land use planning and zoning for rural counties by both county and state governments. Under this bill, property could be used for any purpose, without regard for single-family, agricultural, or industrial zoning, or environmental land use restrictions.

This would prevent a local government from controlling development, from choosing to support small businesses rather than big-box retailers, from limiting certain businesses -- like nude bars -- near residences or schools, and would prevent local governments from keeping polluting industries out of their community.

Without zoning laws, neighbors who were concerned about a particular property would have to bring individual lawsuits to protect their rights against nuisances like smells or pollution from factory farms. They would not be able to act democratically to set rules for zoning in their towns. Land use could only be restricted by contracts -- but not restricted in perpetuity -- which would require individuals to spend their own money to protect community interests, thereby putting community growth in the hands of the wealthy few.

Is a local legislator who was elected to represent YOU actually protecting the interests of corporations instead of YOU and YOUR FAMILY?

Did You Know about these Bills?

ALEC Exposed: "Warming Up to Climate Change"

ALEC EPA Trainwreck.png
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.

Read the rest of the article here.

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


Click here for a zip file of Agriculture bills


Click here for a zip file of Energy bills


Click here for a zip file of Environment bills

Full list.png

For a full list of individual bills from this section, click here

For descriptions of some of these bills, scroll down or click here.

Check out this recent story on ALEC and environmental issues in the Los Angeles Times by Tom Hamburger and Neela Banjeree, "State legislative bills raise conservative group's profile" (July 13, 2011) and this follow-on story by Neela Banjeree, "Common Cause accuses conservative group of lobbying, seeks IRS probe" (July 14, 2011).

Learn MORE about the "Model Bills" ALEC Corporations Are Backing to Rewrite YOUR Rights

The Center for Media and Democracy analyzed the bills ALEC politicians and corporations voted for. More analysis is available below and also at ALEC Exposed's sister sites, PRWatch and SourceWatch.

Join the Conversation!

ALEC Exposed is a project of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). CMD does NOT accept donations from for-profit corporations or government agencies. More information about CMD is available here. You can reach CMD's Executive Director, Arn Pearson, via editor AT ALECexposed.org. Privacy policy: Other than material you post to this wiki in your name, our privacy policy is that we will not disclose private personally identifiable information or data about you, such as your name, email address, or other information, unless required by law. On copyright: ALEC Exposed considers contributions to this wiki to be released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License or in accordance with law. Information on how to provide us with notice regarding copyright is available at this link. Notices regarding copyright or other matters should be sent to our designated agent, Arn Pearson, via email (editor AT ALECexposed.org).