Anti-corporate crusader Sen. [crscore]Elizabeth Warren[/crscore] is set to be the keynote speaker at an event hosted by an environmental group, but paid for by donations from green energy companies that stand to benefit from mandates and subsidies pushed by activists.
Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, will speak Friday at a dinner hosted by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), an influential Illinois-based environmental group. One of ELPC’s main goals right now is to push a state “Clean Jobs Bill” that would increase the amount of green energy people are forced to buy and imposes new energy efficiency requirements.
ELPC has invited Warren to speak at its annual dinner to celebrate all its supposed successes over the years, but the dinner is partly funded by green energy companies standing to benefit from a state green energy mandate being pushed by ELPC.
ELPC raised at least $137,500 for their annual dinner from companies that could benefit from the Clean Jobs Bill being pushed by environmentalists, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of the dinners’ sponsors. These sponsors include lobbying groups that work to expand green energy mandates across the country.
“I am confident that Senator Warren, given her track record, will be unhappy to learn that her dinner is being sponsored by energy companies that stand to benefit from legislation ELPC is advocating,” Michael Shellenberger, president of the group Environmental Progress who co-founded the Illinois.branch of the group, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Clean Line Energy Partners, for example, cut ELPC a $10,000 check for a table at the dinner. Clean Line builds “long-haul transmission lines” to bring electricity from solar and wind farms to people who need electricity.
The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), both lobbying groups, paid $10,000 and $2,500 respectively to sponsor the ELPC’s dinner. EDF Renewables, one of the world’s largest green energy companies, gave ELPC $10,000 for the dinner.
AWEA, Clean Line Energy Partners and many other donors to ELPC’s dinner are also part of a coalition pushing the Clean Jobs Bill. These donor companies include, Elon Musk’s SolarCity, SunEdison and Iberdrola.
ELPC’s dinner is also being sponsored by natural gas companies that would benefit from the Clean Jobs Bill, since it would force nuclear power plants to shutter and be replaced by wind and solar energy backed by natural gas plants.
AECOM paid ELPC $2,500 to sponsor the dinner, and that company works on a wide range of energy projects, including designing combined cycle natural gas plants as well as solar farms. Invenergy gave ELPC $10,000 for the dinner — they operate natural gas power plants and storage facilities. Invenergy also operates wind and solar energy projects.
Warren has been a major critic of corporate America’s influence over the political system, and she has specifically targeted the financial industry for allegedly using think tanks and other nonprofits to hide their lobbying efforts.
“If the information provided by think tanks is little more than another form of corporate lobbying, then policymakers and the public should be aware of the difference,” Warren wrote in a 2013 letter to the CEOs of six Wall Street banks.
Warren even attacked the left-of-center think tank, The Third Way, for not disclosing it was taking money from corporations and big banks. While ELPC does disclose who is funding its big dinner, it’s not clear if green energy companies also fund the group’s advocacy activities.
“Given Senator Warren’s track record demanding transparency by corporations in announcing the contributions they make to nonprofits, I suspect she will want ELPC to disclose all of the corporate donations it receives,” Shellenberger said.
Shellenberger’s main concern with the ELPC is they are promoting legislation that favors green corporate interests while actually raising carbon dioxide emissions — the point of having a green energy mandate is to reduce CO2.
The Clean Jobs Bill expands Illinois’ green energy mandate and imposes new energy efficiency requirements, but the bill does not include energy from nuclear power plants, many of which are struggling to stay economical.
One of those nuclear plants is the Clinton Power Station in DeWitt County. If closed, it would cause 693 people to lose their jobs and actually increase state CO2 emissions since most of Illinois’ “low-carbon” energy comes from nuclear power plants.
“ELPC is advocating legislation which would likely result in the closure of Clinton nuclear plant and perhaps other nuclear plants in Illinois,” Shellenberger said. “Replacing Clinton with a natural gas plant would result in the immediate loss of 688 jobs.”
“The fairest, cheapest and most ambitious approach in terms of climate would be for Illinois lawmakers to treat all sources of clean energy equally,” Shellenberger said.
Neither Warren’s office nor ELPC responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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