Q: What types of donations will pledged candidates refuse?
A: Candidates who make the Clean Money for Climate Pledge will refuse campaign contributions of $200 and over from executives, in-house lobbyists and others employed by the ten fossil fuel and utility companies below.
After looking at which energy companies and utilities are 1) associated with the largest volumes of campaign contributions and 2) have greatest financial interest in influencing energy policy in Massachusetts, we identified the following ten companies to screen out:
4. Exxon Mobil
5. Global Partners
6. Global Petroleum
7. Kinder Morgan
8. National Grid
10. Spectra Energy
Q: Why is the Clean Money for Climate Pledge Needed?
A: Coal, oil, and gas companies—and the utilities who sell their products—have a stranglehold over energy policy in the United States. While Congress has known about climate change since at least the 1980s, it has yet to pass a single piece of legislation to address it. Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we have a much stronger track record on climate, but even here there are times when the influence of dirty energy companies and utilities outweigh public interest and common sense.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish?
A: Our goal is to kick dirty energy money out of Massachusetts state politics by 2020.
This fall, we will begin with the Clean Money for Climate Pledge, which will ask candidates for local, state and federal office in the state to sign a pledge declaring that they will not accept campaign contributions from dirty energy interests (namely fossil fuel companies and utilities). This will be followed up by a report in 2017-2018 that will highlight which candidates signed the pledge, which candidates did not, and how that influenced their votes. In the 2018 election cycle, even more candidates will be recruited to sign the pledge.
Q: How will candidates sign on?
A: While some legislators will need little persuasion, others may sign on only if they believe they'll get more votes from signing than they would from continuing to take dirty energy money. That’s why it’s crucial that voters champion both the pledge and the pledge signers. If you'd like resources to ask candidates in your district to sign the pledge, sign up here. If you are a candidate who'd like to sign the pledge, contact Better Future Action staffer Andrew Gordon by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (440-799-3480).
Q: What about grassroots contributions from people who happen to work for one of these ten companies?
A: We aren't keeping track of any contributions $200 and under. This means that if an employee at National Grid wants to give under $200, candidates can accept this money without breaking the pledge.
Q: How might the pledge evolve over time?
A: The political environment around climate continues to evolve, and we expect this pledge will too in future election cycles. Before the 2018 and 2020 election cycles (and beyond, if necessary), we will look at the various actors advancing dirty energy interests and add any who we see as having undue influence over the political process. At the same time, if any of the companies we have previously listed start unambiguously advancing a clean energy future, we will remove them from this list.
Q: Why are utilities included in this list?
A: While both National Grid and Eversource have been helpful on some renewable energy advances, we have included utilities for two major reasons. First, both National Grid and Eversource have been unabashed cheerleaders of fossil fuel expansion, actively investing in and championing natural gas pipeline expansion (which the state's Attorney General Maura Healey has shown to be unnecessary and a bad deal for ratepayers) even as they support some renewable growth. They are working to deepen our addiction to fossil fuels when the science has never been more clear about the need to reduce and eliminate them. Second, both utilities have also opposed efforts to expand renewable energy, including dropping their contracts with Cape Wind at the first opportunity, and delaying and weakening efforts to expand solar in the state, particularly resisting efforts to raise or eliminate the net metering cap.