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ACCCE: the American Chamber of Connected Coal Executives

Pete Altman

Posted October 15, 2009 in Solving Global Warming

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What with all the companies bailing out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its extremist views on climate legislation and clean energy jobs - and new pressure mounting for even more defections - we'd almost forgotten about the implosion that was going on this summer at the American Council for Clean Coal Electricity, the #1 front group for coal.

ACCCE gets its turn in the barrel later today when it will enjoy the spotlight of a Congressional hearings on letters that were forged on its behalf this summer and sent to members of Congress. (Now doesn't that seem like ancient history, way back before the "Flee-Chamberian age"?)

As much as we have been keeping everyone focused on the continuing climate credibility crisis at the U.S. Chamber, we should not forget about the Chamber's comrades in (climate denial) arms over at ACCCE.

Created through the renaming and merger of two earlier coal front groups -- Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) and Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) - ACCCE has a list of big-time members and funders largely populated by companies directly reliant upon coal as a major source of revenue. ACCCE reportedly spent $45 million on advertising last year, but its total expenses remain undisclosed because the organization has not filed its tax return for 2008.

Which is interesting for a few reasons. First, because it means one of the loudest voices in the climate debate has been actively engaged in advocacy for 18 months with only the barest minimum of disclosure about its spending. Not that tax returns provide a huge amount of telling details, but ACCCE's tax return (if one had been filed) would reveal its annual budget- which is more than just federal lobbying, since it also runs lots of ads, deploys paid field staff and so forth. And of course, singing lumps of coal and forged letters don't come cheap!

ACCCE's tax return would (will?) list the members of the board of directors of ACCCE, providing some additional clarity about exactly what the organization stands for and who pulls the strings.

And that brings us to our point: Looking at the ACCCE board, and its relationships with the US Chamber board, and you start to get a pretty good idea of where both organizations are coming from. And whose interests are being protected.

Try and follow along as we walk you through the story of the Amazing Hidden, Interconnected and Surprising Truths of ACCCE's true leadership...

Until now, the closest one could get to seeing behind the scenes at ACCCE is to look at the organization's membership page, which lists 41 members. But we have now uncovered a list of the board of directors for ACCCE's predecessor, filed with the Texas Secretary of State, where the organization is registered. This list was filed in February 2007. In February 2008, CEED changed its name to ACCCE, but didn't attach a new list of directors. So until ACCCE informs us otherwise - or files their tax return - the 2007 list of board members is the only public document listing the ACCCE board. So we're gonna work off that.

What's interesting about this 2007 list is: 

  1. We know at least some companies have left ACCCE over its climate position, including Alcoa, Alstom and Duke (the latter left, but wasn't a board member.) So while Alcoa and Alstom are on the 2007 list, we know those companies have split the scene.
  2. But, there are still twenty-five individuals on the 2007 board list that are not listed on ACCCE's membership page, nor are the companies with which they are affiliated. Are these folks no longer on the ACCCE board? If so, why did they leave? If not, why aren't they listed on ACCCE's web page? Enquiring minds want to know ...
  3. The co-ops have a lot of weight on the ACCCE board, with 13 individuals representing coop interests. This includes former Congressman Glenn English, the head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA) and twelve other individuals that are affiliated with electric coops that are members of NRECA. Six of these individuals, including Mr. English, are not listed by ACCCE as members.
  4. Coal transporters and equipment providers are also well-represented, with 11 current or former execs of such companies on the board list. Five of those are not listed on ACCCE's membership page. And we're talking CEOs, not small fry: ACCCE's list includes the President and CEO of the American Association of Railroads, whose tax return for 2007 year reported its work to "Defeat legislation or regulation imposing onerous restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel use." Plus, ACCCE has the current Chairmen of three of the nation's four largest railroads: BNSF, Norfolk-Southern and CSX; and not to leave out the fourth they've got the immediate past Chairman of Union Pacific.
  5. Coal mining/extraction companies are, not surprisingly, well-represented on the board list, with 16 current or former coal company officials appearing there. Of those, seven are not listed by ACCCE as members, including Don Blankenship of Massey Energy and the CEO of Foundation Coal. One of those seven is the former head of the National Mining Association, but he left and went to the Frozen Foods Association after 2007, so perhaps he is no longer on the ACCCE board. But what about the coalies that are listed as board members but don't show up on ACCCE's website?

    Also, here again ACCCE boasts CEO-level power: there are 9 current coal company chiefs among the board, including the nation's biggest coal companies: Peabody, Arch and Consol.
  6. The ACCCE board also includes two members of the board of directors of the American Council on Capital Formation (ACCF), the Koch-industries-funded front group that teamed up with the National Association of Manufacturers to exaggerate the costs of dealing with climate change. One is Glenn English, CEO of NRECA; the other is Thomas Kuhn, the CEO of the Edison Electric Institute.
  7. There are many connections between the ACCCE and the Chamber board. This includes (careful, some of these overlap):
  • Six individuals/companies that served on both boards this year (Coal giants Peabody, Massey and Consol; Rail giants BNSF and Norfolk Southern; and Caterpillar). Consol left the Chamber board recently (no, not because of the Chamber's climate stance.)
  • Two individuals on the board list are also former executives with Southern Company and Caterpillar, both of which of course have seats on the US Chamber board.
  • Four individuals that are current or former members of the Board of Directors of the US Chamber of Commerce.
  • Thomas Kuhn (EEI), who is Chairman of the Chamber's Committee of 100.
  • Dwight Evans (formerly with Southern Company) who served on the US Chamber Board and is the immediate past Chair of the Chamber's Environment Committee.
  • Scott Miller, Associate General Manager of City Public Utilities in Springfield, MO, is on the US Chamber Board.
  • Richard Davidson, the former Chairman and CEO of Union Pacific, served as the Chairman of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. This one works in reverse too, since Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue has been a board member of Union Pacific since 1998, starting just one year after Davidson became UP's Chairman and CEO. Aww, they played trains together!

Now, as I've previously mentioned...our analysis of the US Chamber's board of directors' positions on climate showed the Chamber to be much more aligned with the few coal companies on its board than the nearly 20 companies that support federal legislation. And that Donohue is pretty much tied to the rails because of his service on the UP board of directors, which ties him to the railroad interests more broadly, including BNSF which jointly operates a coal-hauling rail line with Union Pacific.

There's more, but my wife has asked me to stop typing so she can go to sleep. And, I think this is enough to chew on for a while. Why are so many ACCCE board members left off its membership page? Who knew that there were so many connections between ACCCE and the US Chamber?

Here's the list, minus the ACCCE members that left due to its climate position, and one fellow who passed away. 

Listed on ACCCE Member page?

NAME

AFFILIATION

N

Don Blankenship

Chairman and CEO Massey Energy

N

Bret Clayton

Chief of Copper Group, Rio Tinto

N

Clifford Miercort

President and Chief Executive Officer of NACCO's wholly owned subsidiary, The North American Coal Corporation,

N

Robert Murray

Ohio Valley Coal Company, and several other coal companies

N

Kraig Naasz

Former President and CEO of the National Mining Association; current President and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute

N

James Roberts

Chairman and CEO Foundation Coal

N

Rick Thomas

Coal industry veteran, former or current Director of Coal Services, Natsource

Y

Joseph Craft III

Chairman, President and CEO of Alliance Holdings; NCC board member.

Y

Gregory Boyce

Chairman and CEO Peabody Energy

Y

John Grisham

Buckeye Industrial Mining co

Y

J. Brett Harvey

J. Brett Harvey, CONSOL Energy president and CEO.

Y

Steven Leer

Chairman and CEO, Arch Coal

Y

Duane Richards

CEO Western Fuels

Y

Bryan Ronck

President of Berwind Natural Resources Corporation

 

Steven Parker

Former President Pittsburgh & Midway Coal Company (owned by Chevron)

 

Ed Pettigrew

Current or Former Manager, HSE & Business Excellence -. BHP Billiton

Y

Frank Calandra, Jr.

Pittsburg, Jenmar Corp

Y

Christopher Curfman

VP of Caterpillar and president of its global mining division

N

Edward Hamberger

AAR President and CEO

N

Steve Holloway

Former President of Western Coal Transportation Association

N

Tom Schelat

Vaughan Railway

N

Marcella Szel

Canadian Pacific Railway

N

Richard Walling, Sr.

President, Express Marine

Y

Richard Davidson

Union Pacific Railroad President, 1991-1996; CEO/Chairman Union Pacific Corporation, 1997-2006

Y

Charles Moorman

Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Norfolk Southern

Y

Michael Ward

Chairman CEO of CSX

Y

Matthew Rose

Chairman, President and CEO BNSF

N

Frederick Kuester

President and Chief Executive Officer, We Generation
Wisconsin Energy Corporation, Executive Vice President.

N

Thomas Kuhn

EEI President

N

Doublas McFarlan

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications, Edison Mission Group (EMG)

N

Mark Nelson

Director of Generation Planning & Strategy at Southern California Edison

N

Kelly Prasser

Sempra Energy

N

Davild Wilks

VP Excel Energy

Y

Gerard Anderson

President and COO DTE Energy Company

Y

Michael Menne

VP or Former VP at Ameren, current cite not yet found.

Y

Robert Powers

American Electric Power

Y

David Ratcliffe

Chairman and CEO, Southern Company

Y

Paul Thompson

SVP, Energy Services, E.ON and Chairman of FutureGen

Y

David Slump

General manager, global marketing, GE Energy

 

Nancy Mohn

Alstom

N

Glenn English

CEO, NRECA

N

Randy Haymaker

Director of Public Affairs Hoosier Energy

N

Eric Hennen

Environmental Affairs director, Dairyland Power Coop

N

Rick Lancaster

Rick Lancaster, Great River Energy vice president of generation.

N

Richard Midulla

Former General Manager, Seminole Electric Coop

N

Gary Roulet

Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) CEO

y

Anthony Ahern

President and CEO Buckeye Power

Y

Ronald Harper

President Dakota Coal Company which is owned by Basin

Y

James Jura

CEO and General Manger Associated Electric Cooperative

Y

J.M. Shafer

General Manager, Tri-State

Y

Steve Sharp

Principal Engineer, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation

Y

L. Watkins, Sr.

President and CEO, Sunflower Electric Coop

 

Roy Palk

Former president and chief executive officer of East Kentucky Power Cooperative; former assistant general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

N

Charles Wakild

Former Director, Progress Energy's EHS Dep't; Now with NC Environmental agency (?)

Y

Dwight Evans

former Executive Vice President External Affairs, Southern Company (retired 2008)

N/A

Greg Kraft

Former Chairman of Texas Chemical Council and former Alcoa exec.

 

Theodore Torbeck

Chairman, Remington (guns); former GE VP

N

Scott Miller

associate general manager - electric supply at City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

 

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