Former Trump Official Suggests Exxon’s Exit From ALEC Doesn’t Pass The Smell Test

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Exxon Mobil’s decision to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council over differences on climate change is odd given the group’s tilt toward environmentalism, according to a former Trump Environmental Protection Agency official.

ALEC is going through great pains to play nice with environmentalists, energy expert Myron Ebell told The Daily Caller News Foundation. His comments come after Exxon allowed its membership with the group to lapse following disagreements over global warming.

“There is a second-order irony in that green energy companies and Jay Faison’s Clear Path Foundation aren’t attacked by the left for belonging to ALEC,” he said, referring to a green energy firm attached to ALEC. “Everyone knows that they are infiltrators trying to subvert ALEC.”

Jay Faison, whom Ebell mentioned in his comment, is a wealthy conservative from North Carolina who shoveled more than $175 million into the campaigns of vulnerable Republicans in 2016 to change the GOP’s mind on climate issues. His group supports natural gas, solar energy and carbon capture technology.

Ebell works for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and headed President Donald Trump’s transition team for the EPA. CEI is one 28 companies currently associated with ALEC, a group scrutinized for urging state legislators to pass conservative policies.

ALEC does not directly lobby the federal government. The group’s corporate members instead push mostly state legislators on various policy matters, frequently with carefully crafted model legislation to be proposed in statehouses. (RELATED: Exxon Leaves ALEC As Both Go Their Separate Ways On Climate Change Policies)

Activists have lambasted Exxon and other companies for associating with the conservative group — the Texas-based oil company also catches flak from environmentalists for allegedly contributing to manmade global warming. Ebell is not the only person raising red flags.

“The gist is that over the past couple of years the group has re-positioned to make it a kinder and gentler group on climate change,” a person with knowledge about ALEC’s members told TheDCNF. “Some are worried the group is moving away from free market policies.”

The bulk of the changes came shortly after companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Google and Yahoo cut off ties with the group over its position on climate change, the person noted.

While Exxon has broadly supported some climate change mitigation, the company continues to wrestle with shareholder measures requiring the oil producer to report on financial risks that Obama-era climate regulations pose to the company.

Exxon opposed the resolution and lobbied individual investors to vote against the proposal at the company’s annual meeting. More than 60 percent of investors voted in support of the proposal — a similar proposal gained 38 percent support in 2017.

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