News & Features » News

ALEC goes after environmentalists

Conservative think tank calls solar users "freeriders"



It’s difficult not to be sucked in by the conspiracy-theory shouting of “corporatocracy” whenever the specter of the American Legislative Exchange Council rises over the horizon. Just because your state legislators are working with this non-governmental organization in which corporations controls subcommittees populated by your state representatives, who then try to draw up laws that serve that organization’s purpose (untouched by the law or sunshine), doesn’t mean we have to worry, right?

Oh, wait, yes we do.

ALEC, the moneyed dog-and-pony show that has a history of going after everything from teachers to unions, now has its sites set on environmentally minded homeowners. In documents obtained by the Guardian preceding the group’s annual December confab – in which legislators are wined and dined into submission by CEOs – ALEC refers to homeowners with solar panels on their houses as freeloaders because, an ALEC spokesperson says, the individuals aren’t paying into the infrastructure of the poor, poor utility companies.

“As it stands now, those direct-generation customers are essentially freeriders on the system,” ALEC’s energy, environment and agriculture analyst John Eick told the Guardian. “They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non-direct generation customers are being penalized.”

Oh, wait, really? So the big utilities – the same ones that are able to charge you more on your power bill for nuclear sites they don’t even plan on building – are being hurt by a couple of solar panels that are providing free energy. Huh.

What’s next, ALEC? Abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency?

“The other key agenda item from ALEC’s meeting this week is the EPA,” the Guardian reports. “The group is looking at two proposals to curb the agency’s powers – one to shut the EPA out of any meaningful oversight of fracking, and the other to block action on climate change.”

Oh, eyeroll.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.