NRDC’s Silly Giving Restrictions Mirror Its Backwards Take on the Clean Power Plan

by William Yeatman on December 3, 2014

in Blog

Yesterday, the Natural Resources Defense Council hosted a press conference call to discuss the group’s opposition to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public. This week, ALEC is having its annual Washington, D.C. meeting, which occasioned NRDC’s conference call. Full disclosure: I participate in ALEC on behalf of CEI and I’m very much looking forward to this week’s conference.

Formerly at NRDC

Formerly at NRDC

NRDC aired all of its grievances in a press release; see that for the full story. In a nutshell, NRDC disagrees with ALEC’s efforts to organize opposition to the Obama administration’s illegal and illegitimate climate policy. (The modifiers to “climate policy” aptly impart how I feel about the President’s regulatory regime for climate change mitigation). In fact, NRDC’s argument is all boilerplate stuff, including all the familiar shibboleths (“climate-science denying,” “pro-pollution,” etc.), but I nonetheless was struck by the extent to which NRDC stressed that ALEC received membership fees from corporations (in addition to its public and non-profit sector members).

That got me thinking: Does NRDC accept corporate donations? As it turns out, the answer to this inquiry is absurd.

According to NRDC’s webpage,

NRDC will not seek or accept contributions from corporations in the following categories: utilities, oil industry, forest products industry, automobiles, agribusiness, chemical industry, waste industry, appliance manufacturers, mining and minerals companies, tobacco industry and the defense industry.

This is quite silly. The list of businesses NRDC opposes includes raw materials, energy, chemicals, and manufacturing which are, of course, the four “building blocks” (pun intended) of every corporation whose money NRDC deigns to take. This being capitalism, profits of all industries—even the ones condoned by NRDC—are reinvested into growing the business, which, of course, necessitates more raw materials, energy, manufacturing, and chemicals. ​Alas, NRDC’s take on EPA’s Clean Power Plan is as convoluted and backwards as its take on philanthropy, as I explain here.

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