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Environmental groups call on members to leave Chamber of Commerce over climate stances

Environmental groups call on members to leave Chamber of Commerce over climate stances
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A coalition of 28 environmental groups called on major corporate members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to leave the trade group unless it ends lobbying on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

In a letter shared with The Hill, signatories said that despite lobbying on climate issues by some members, the Chamber’s actions on climate issues have been predominantly “some limited rhetoric.” It cites a report by Royal Dutch Shell that noted the Chamber has not taken a position on either net-zero emissions goals or carbon pricing, and has also not issued a statement on carbon capture.

The signatories added a list of actions by the Chamber in the first quarter of 2021 it said were contrary to climate actions. The actions listed include asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to curtail its Climate and ESG Task Force and filing an amicus brief in support of pipeline firm PennEast, which is suing New Jersey for the right to seize state-owned land for pipeline construction.

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It also cites the Chamber’s public opposition to the White House’s halt of the Keystone XL pipeline and its joint press conference with the American Petroleum Institute in opposition to the administration’s moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public lands.

“In the first quarter of 2021 alone, the U.S. Chamber has worked to impede climate solutions by supporting lawsuits on behalf of polluters and partnering with the fossil fuel industry to criticize the necessary pause on drilling on federal public lands, among other actions,” the letter states.

The letter calls on members to ask for a meeting with Chamber leaders over its climate stances and make clear that they will quit the group unless there are policy changes.

Signatories include the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen. Several local organizations also signed, including 350 New Orleans, California Businesses For A Livable Climate and the Colorado Small Business Coalition.

A spokesperson for the Chamber defended its climate stances in a statement to The Hill.

“We are proud of the work we’re doing across the broad Chamber membership to bring meaningful, achievable solutions to the global climate challenge,” the spokesperson said. “The business community is at the leading edge of innovation and investment in the technology necessary to reduce emissions, and will be an important voice in the international and domestic policy dialogue.”