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June 15 — Lobbying efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against Obama administration efforts on climate change are deeply at odds with the perspectives of its board members, eight members of the Senate Democratic caucus said in a report June 15.
None of the 108 chamber board members would explicitly endorse the group's lobbying efforts to kill the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and many of the companies said they were unaware of those initiatives, according to the report. Fifty-two of those board members have publicly supported efforts to address climate change.
“Despite the fact that nearly half of Chamber board members have acknowledged the risk of climate change or are actively working to address the risks of climate change, the Chamber has opposed executive action on climate and lobbied heavily in support of legislation undermining climate action,” the report said. “Not a single board member explicitly supported the chamber’s lobbying efforts.”
Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Edward Markey (Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) prepared the report, which also examined chamber lobbying efforts on tobacco.
Chamber board members with climate change views at odds with its lobbying activities include Allstate Corp., AT&T Inc., BMO Financial Group, Ryder System Inc., Sanofi S.A., 3M Co. and United Parcel Service Inc., according to the report.
“Chamber members, many of whom act commendably on their own, undermine their own efforts by affiliating with an organization that actively and aggressively undermines efforts to reduce tobacco use and tries to prevent action to address climate change,” the senators wrote in a letter accompanying the report. “By lending tacit support to an organization that has spearheaded a decades-long effort against policies to address both problems, member companies become de facto promoters of tobacco and adversaries of climate action.”
Twelve Senate Democrats originally wrote all chamber board members in September 2015 seeking their views on the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan and their knowledge of chamber lobbying in that area.
In a statement, the chamber described the report as an “egregiously false” and “partisan line of attack” and condemned the Senate Democrats for releasing a report to “recycle old myths and tired talking points.”
“Perhaps if these Senators put as much energy into fostering pro-job, pro-growth policies as they are into producing baseless ‘reports’ about groups whose mission is to do just that—and whose opinions they politically disagree with—the country would see more positive economic growth,” the statement said.
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A copy of the report is available at http://1.usa.gov/24R37Je.
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