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Exelon Corporation to U.S. Chamber: ‘I Wish I Knew How to Quit You’

May 22, 2017

Exelon Corporation to U.S. Chamber: ‘I Wish I Knew How to Quit You’

Energy Company Reverses Decision to Stop Funding Anti-Climate U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Exelon, the nation’s largest utility, which announced in 2009 that it was leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the Chamber’s opposition to action on climate change, gave $250,000 to the Chamber last year. Public Citizen today sent a letter (PDF) to Exelon, urging it to issue a public explanation of its 2016 Chamber funding and to stop funding the Chamber, the nation’s largest lobbying group.

“Exelon wants its customers and investors to believe that it still cares about climate, but it’s back to cutting big checks to the Chamber, one of the leading opponents of action on climate change. Exelon’s ratepayers and investors would be justified in feeling betrayed by Exelon’s climate duplicity,” said Dan Dudis, director of Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch project. “If Exelon wants people to take its statements in favor of action on climate change seriously, it must stop funding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this time for good – or at least until the Chamber recognizes the overwhelming business case for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and abandons its reactionary head-in-the-tar-sands climate policy.”

In 2009, then-Exelon CEO John Rowe declared that “[i]naction on climate change is not an option,” adding that “[t]he carbon-based free lunch is over.” However, Exelon’s 2016 political spending report (PDF) reveals that it has returned to funding the Chamber, donating $250,000 last year.

But the Chamber is still every bit the fierce opponent of action on climate change, criticizing the Paris Agreement, suing to block the Clean Power Plan, opposing increased fuel efficiency standards for cars, spending tens of millions of dollars to elect candidates opposed to action on climate change and serving as both the brains and booster of the Trump administration’s pro-fossil fuels agenda.

Moreover, Exelon’s public position in favor of action on climate change hasn’t changed either – at least not on paper. The company still cites (PDF) climate change as a “compelling issue” and voices support for the Paris Agreement, according to Exelon’s 2016 report to the Climate Disclosure Project, a nonprofit that enables companies to voluntarily disclose the impact of their activities on climate change.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the biggest obstacles to action on climate change,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “Exelon has indicated in the past that it believes inaction on climate change is not an option. Then it must affirm this belief by stopping its support of the Chamber, which supports President Donald Trump’s war on science.”

Read the letter (PDF).