What's on ALEC's polluter agenda tomorrow?

Tomorrow, the American Legislative Exchange Council--known as ALEC--will host their 2012 Spring Task Force summit in Charlotte, NC. At tomorrow's meeting, the corporate front group will round up its various committees and prepare to peddle new state-level legislation to attack clean energy laws, protect polluting industries, privatize education, and suppress voters, among other big business schemes. +

Heartland Institute and ALEC Partner to Pollute Classroom Science

ALEC and Heartland: Classroom Climate Denial Peddlers

PolluterWatch: Greenpeace Investigates Heartland Institute Leaked Documents -- click to see investigation and ongoing updates.

UPDATE: After dropping support for ALEC, Pepsi distances itself from the Heartland Institute’s climate denial. +

Why are the Koch brothers cannibalizing the Cato Institute?

The Cato Institute may soon be under new management - Koch Industries.

A cursory look at the very public clash between the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, and the Koch brothers, infamous oil billionaires and funders of right wing causes - leaves many people confused.  The Cato Institute, originally called the Charles G Koch Institute when it was founded by Charles G Koch in the 70s – is in danger of a hostile takeover…by Charles G Koch?  Why would Charles Koch try to take over his own think tank? +

The Cato Institute, a subsidiary of Koch Industries

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Employer: 
Koch Industries
Known Associates: 

How the Heartland Institute Deceived Me with Underhand Tactics

PolluterWatch: Greenpeace Investigates Heartland Institute Leaked Documents -- click to see investigation and ongoing updates.

4 a.m. Bali, December 2007, the first Tuesday of the two-week United Nations climate talks. My phone rings, waking me up. Blearily, and a little crossly, I answer it. +

Chesapeake Energy

Image Caption: 

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Address: 

Corporate Headquarters: 6100 North Western Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118

Evidence: 

Gas fracking is known to have negative impacts on both air and water quality in surrounding communities. According to the EPA, fracking wastewater contains radioactive materials, metals, total dissolved solids, as well as whatever toxic additives have been used in the fracking fluid. There are currently no national standards that regulate proper disposal of fracking wastewater. 

Air pollutants from the fracking process include methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other substances classified by the EPA as Hazardous Air Pollutants. Because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, studies have shown that natural gas recovered from shale formations has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than coal. 

Chesapeake has been involved with numerous allegations of health and safety violations relating to their gas fracking operations. During 2011 Chesapeake was accused of 141 violations in Pennsylvania alone.  One of the most significant events occurred in August 2011, when a well blowout in Bradford County, Pennsylvania released large quantities of fracking fluid into nearby farmland and waterways.  The fracking fluid contained numerous toxic chemicals that contaminated nearby waterways.  Despite this and other similar events, Chesapeake claims that, “Examples of our environmental sensitivity abound.”

As a result of such environmental violations, Chesapeake has been fined several times by the state of Pennsylvania.  In February 2012, Chesapeake was fined $565,000 for previous violations that resulted in contamination of local waterways. In May of 2011, Chesapeake was fined $1.09 million. 

The company is also under a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice, following numerous alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in West Virginia. 

Chesapeake Energy is involved in a number of lawsuits throughout the country, relating to various financial and environmental issues. Allegations include insider trading, underpayment of royalties, and property damages, to name a few.  One of the largest lawsuits began in 2009, when a putative class action suit was brought against Chesapeake in a New York US District Court. Plaintiffs have claimed damages from misinformation regarding the company’s July 2008 common stock offering, and the case has since been relocated to Oklahoma.  

In 2008, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon’s compensation package totaled $112.5 million, making him the year’s highest paid CEO in the country.  That same year, company profits fell 50% and stock value declined by 60%.  This situation prompted shareholders to bring the company to court.  Chesapeake’s financial troubles have extended into the present – as of February 2012 the company projected that low natural gas prices would lead revenue to fall billions of dollars below expenses. 

Since 2008, Chesapeake Energy has spent more than $8.6 million on federal lobbying, concentrating their efforts on energy and environmental issues. Chesapeake’s Political Action Committee has spent over $3.4 million on federal political candidates and committees.

Chesapeake Energy also funds the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization known for influencing American politics and supporting right-wing legislators. Other funders of ALEC include corporations such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and Koch Industries. 

In Chesapeake’s 10-K report, filed to the SEC, the company acknowledges the inherent dangers of their work, stating that, “the natural gas and oil business involves a variety of operating risks, including the risk of fire, explosions, blow-outs, pipe failure, abnormally pressured formations and environmental hazards such as oil spills, natural gas leaks, ruptures or discharges of toxic gases.”

Known Associates: 
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