Google Quits ALEC, Says Link With Climate Skeptics Wrong

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) — Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt
said the world’s biggest Internet search company made a mistake
in funding a political group that opposes U.S. action on climate
change.

Schmidt said Google paid the American Legislative Exchange
Council
as part of a lobbying campaign on an unrelated issue.
Without elaborating on Google’s relationship with the group,
Schmidt said facts about global warming aren’t in dispute.

“The people who oppose it are really hurting our children
and grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,”
Schmidt said on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show” yesterday. “We should
not be aligned with such people. They are just literally
lying.”

Google confirmed in a statement yesterday that it won’t
renew its ALEC membership at the end of the year.

The Mountain View, California-based company and others are
under mounting pressure from organizations that back government
policies to combat climate change to abandon the Council, which
says it supports free-market policies, because of its approach
to environmental issues.

Microsoft Corp. has withdrawn from ALEC, saying affiliating
with group “which is actively fighting policies that promote
renewable energy was incongruous,” according to a report in
Bloomberg BNA last month.

ALEC develops model legislation for state legislatures. It
was behind Florida’s so-called Stand-Your-Ground law that drew
scrutiny after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a
neighborhood watch volunteer who later was acquitted of murder.
It has also pushed to repeal state mandates for renewable energy
use.

‘Public Pressure’

The group has written model legislation calling for an
interstate research council to study possible beneficial effects
of climate change and to examine how regulations capping carbon
may hurt the economy.

“It is unfortunate to learn Google has ended its
membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council as a
result of public pressure from left-leaning individuals and
organizations who intentionally confuse free market policy
perspectives for climate change denial,” Lisa Nelson, ALEC’s
chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Bill Meierling, the ALEC senior director of public affairs,
said Google joined ALEC in August 2011 and was active in a
communications and technology task force the group created to
discuss broadband, privacy and e-commerce issues. The company
paid ALEC about $10,000 a year.

Meierling disputed Schmidt’s suggestion that the group
denies human activity is a cause of climate change. But he said
ALEC has “significant concerns” rules proposed by the
Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon dioxide
emissions from power plants would hurt the economy.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Jim Snyder in Washington at
jsnyder24@bloomberg.net;
Brian Womack in San Francisco at
bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at
jmorgan97@bloomberg.net;
Pui-Wing Tam at
ptam13@bloomberg.net
Pui-Wing Tam, Steve Geimann

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