Trend Watch: Coal-ition Members And The Fate Of Climate Legislation, In Or Out?

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Janus (or Ianus), ancient god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings, and transition to a new future. Image credit:Wikipedia.

Following an embarrassing series of PR stunts and continuing with its strong opposition to climate action, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy, a pro-coal industry group, may be facing a changing political landscape among its members. Dan posted on a prominent example of this in : Duke Energy Leaves "Clean" Coal Coalition. Single-issue, industry coalitions often have trouble adapting to high profile controversy, especially if some members are reluctant to compromise from founding principles, while other members decide they can no longer have it both ways: e.g. be publicly in support of climate legislation while belonging to a coalition that lobbies against it.National Journal has a detailed commentary on this trend in its post: Shifting Alliances Define Energy Debate

As the Senate prepares to return to Washington and resume its debate over climate change legislation, energy companies are walking a fine line. Many have dual membership in groups on opposing sides of the issue, and their attempts to play both sides are becoming increasingly apparent -- and potentially damaging to the companies and the coalitions alike.
The Journal article is especially insightful in pointing out how membership politics determine coalition 'consensus' policy on legislative details:
The legislative goals of coalitions likely will not be set by all their constituent companies, but by the "big dog" members who contribute the most money and encourage other companies to get on board.

Loomis advised that those curious about a coalition's ultimate goals heed the old saw and follow the money: "One of the difficulties in parsing coalitions is really seeing who the major members are who are really contributing."

Familiar names still on the roster include Caterpillar Incorporated and GE Energy. Few of the the other members have a consumer "brand" image to protect. But, it certainly would be interesting to see if any are beneficiaries of Federal grants provided through the stimulus package.

See the whole list of ACCCE members here.

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