Walmart Withdraws from ALEC, Wallows in Bribery Scandal

Mike Duke photoIn an unsurprising, capitulatory move last week, Walmart joined several other major companies and withdrew its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which advances the principles of free markets and limited government at the state level through legislative idea exchanges.

The move preceded Friday’s annual shareholder meeting, in which executives emphasized their commitment to principles of integrity. That came into question especially since April, when the New York Times revealed that company officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in order to expedite building permits and other favors in Mexico.

A number of investors and pension funds attempted to remove some Walmart directors from the board, including CEO Mike Duke (in picture), former CEO Lee Scott, and S. Robson “Rob” Walton, son of company founder Sam Walton. Because the family holds nearly 50 percent of stock in the company, proposals they don’t support will always …

More Federal Officials Don’t Like Natural Gas— This Time in Gas Rich Zone

Dan Arvizu

As Americans grow increasingly skeptical about global warming, and the availability of shale oil and natural gas is greater than ever in the U.S., a federal official based in Colorado says the climate threat is so dire that electric utilities should not plan long-term for the development of natural gas power plants.

Meanwhile another official in the Centennial State – a regional regulator for the Environmental Protection Agency that oversees areas with vast fossil fuel reserves – is on the record saying the number of scientists skeptical about the dangers of global warming is nearly non-existent.

The first official, Daniel Arvizu (pictured), director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, made his remarks Monday at the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver.

“If we don’t start phasing out even a scale-up of natural gas by 2040, 2050, we will not achieve any of the carbon-loading goals we have set for ourselves,” …

‘Crucifying’ EPA Regulator was Eager to Inflict Pain

armendarizThe administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6 office in Dallas, who boasted on video that he sought to “crucify” oil and gas companies as examples much like the Roman empire, has a history of environmental activism and overzealous statements.

Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma revealed the little-seen video of Al Armendariz (pictured) earlier this week, but his extremism was not a surprise to those familiar with his work in Texas when he was appointed in November 2009.

“While he has a long history as an environmental activist, I hope Dr. Armendariz recognizes that this position is too important to be used as a podium for environmental activism,” said Brian Shaw, Gov. Rick Perry’s chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state’s lead environmental agency. “I urge Dr. Armendariz to use sound science in his decisions.”

The former Southern Methodist University professor often worked

Duke Energy Caves In to Pressure Groups’ Demands

Rogers photoIn yet another ploy to overcome opposition to their merger, Duke Energy and Progress Energy agreed with environmental groups last week to a few million more dollars in payoffs for “clean” energy schemes, and to implement energy efficiency programs that would reduce customers’ electricity use by seven percent of retail sales by 2018.

The deal has been planned for months, and when approved by state and federal regulators, will create the largest investor-owned electric utility in the nation. Combined the companies serve residents and businesses in Florida, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Southern Environmental Law Center all intervened in the hearings before the North Carolina and South Carolina utility regulatory commissions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also must approve the deal.

NLPC reported in September that the environmental pressure groups – whose calling cards are …

Corporate America Can’t Keep Up with All the Sustainability Demands

score cardThe competition in corporate America to show who is “Greenest” or “most sustainable” has spun out of control, with the Alinskyite effect that drives corporations to spend vast amounts of time and money trying to address the whims and requests of every Leftist niche group that waves some kind of scorecard in their faces.

Meanwhile customers pay for the lunacy in higher prices, and shareholders (those not in the Corporate Social Responsibility movement) bear the burden in diminished returns on their investments. 

A Businessweek report from Thanksgiving Eve illustrated how unwieldy the demands of eco-graders and CSR activists have become, as “companies are buried in requests for data as groups jockey to be the arbiters of sustainability.” And you thought IRS and other government regulatory compliance was a headache.

The article explains how companies like Intel and Walmart are inundated by organizations who seek to rank their performances on …

Duke Energy Juggernaut Won’t Stop Shakedown Artists

Jim Rogers photoIf it wasn’t already obvious, then a report in Friday’s Raleigh News & Observer about the merger hearings between Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the nation’s largest utility makes it clear: That Duke’s strategy is continued growth into “a political juggernaut.”

That’s what came out of the final day of testimony about the deal before the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which appears to be the final major hurdle for the merger’s approval. The N&O cited “hints” by company executives about “further acquisitions down the road,” in which Duke would wield even more power than they do now.

Perhaps at some point the U.S. Justice Department will be required to approve Duke’s acquisitions to examine possible monopoly interests (which in reality, investor-owned utilities already enjoy). After this merger’s approval, in fact, Duke will be the service provider for almost the entire state of North Carolina – the exception being …

Duke – Progress Merger Provides Shakedown Opportunity for Activists

Rogers photoIt seemed the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the nation’s largest (by several measures) utility would sail through by the end of this year, but several activists in North Carolina have intervened at the last minute. The moves by environmental groups to extract funds for their pet projects out of the deal would make shakedown artists proud. Among the organizations – who have myriad methods of wringing dollars from taxpayers through lawsuits and corporate campaign-type pressure tactics – are Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and Southern Environmental Law Center.

Armed with dozens of millions of dollars each, the litigation-loving Greenies made the laughable assertion – with help of friendly consultant Richard Hahn of La Capra Associates – that the new Duke Energy would produce more air pollution after the merger. It’s as if eco-group suck-up James Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, never had anything

Walmart Heirs Fund Anti-Fishing Activists

Walmart logoRecently NLPC reported that Walmart’s top “sustainability” adviser, who provided significant help in getting the company’s “Green” credibility with environmentalist groups in gear, was Jib Ellison – a former wilderness expeditionist and river guide, and author of a guide on whitewater rafting. The story of his relationship with Walmart, which began with the introduction of Ellison by Rob Walton (son of founder Sam) to former company CEO Lee Scott, is documented in the new book Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Walmart’s Green Revolution by Edward Humes.

The passion for environmental concerns (which has also included foolish corporate support for cap-and-trade policies) has carried over to the philanthropic initiatives of Sam’s descendants, with the Walton Family Foundation pouring $71.8 million into oceans and river systems “conservation.” Walton heirs, including Rob, make up the entirety of the foundation’s board. A major group of sport fishermen are not

Duke Energy Can Burn Forests for ‘Green’ Credits

forest fire photoIt’s (once again) the law of unintended consequences for Green groups: In order to fulfill a 2007 state mandate that they derive 12.5 percent of electricity from so-called “renewable” sources, a North Carolina appeals court has ruled that Duke Energy – which will soon be more or less the only investor-owned utility in the Tar Heel state – may burn whole trees to comply with the regulation.

Last year Duke sought permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to classify two of its coal-fired power plants as renewable facilities, because the company wants to burn a combination of wood chips and coal at the plants. NCUC determined the renewables statute allowed that “wood derived from whole trees in primary harvest is a ‘biomass resource’ and thus a ‘renewable energy resource,’” and therefore approved Duke’s application. Environmental Defense Fund and the NC Sustainable Energy Association – with Southern Environmental Law Center …

Green Pressure Groups Want More Corporate Climate Disclosure

Ceres logoEnvironmental pressure group Ceres, whose primary activity is to drive corporations to report their greenhouse gas emitting activities and disclose climate risk in their Securities and Exchange Commission filings, recently released a report that outlines exactly what companies should be disclosing.

The report, “Disclosing Climate Risks and Opportunities in SEC Filings: A Guide for Corporate Executives, Attorneys and Directors,” was written by three environmentalist attorneys and was reviewed by representatives of Friends of the Earth, Climate Change Lawyers Network, Carbon Disclosure Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Investor Environmental Health Network, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, and Environmental Defense Fund, plus other “Green” law firms and investor groups.

As global warming alarmists scramble to tamp down another Climategate-related scandal and their dire predictions are shown to be untrue again and again, some corporate leaders are still cowed into reporting imaginary climate “risks” by …