Energy Secretary Applauds Apple's Chamber Resignation; Chamber Cries Conspiracy

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu thinks Apple, PG&E, and other companies that have quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its efforts to block legislation and policies to address climate change have done the right thing. In a related story, U.S. Chamber President & CEO Thomas J. Donohue told reporters that his organization was the victim of a conspiracy by environmental groups to discredit it.

Mr. Chu made his comments at a solar energy event in Washington D.C., saying, "I think it's wonderful" when asked what he thought about Apple, PG&E, and other corporations pulling out of the Chamber.

"Part of our economic future in the United States," lies is curbing greenhouse gasses, Mr. Chu told reporters. "I would encourage the Chamber of Commerce to realize the economic opportunity that the United States can lead in a new industrial revolution."

Mr. Chu and others in the Obama administration have advocated the position that curbing greenhouse gasses and transitioning away from dependence on fossil fuels offers great economic benefit to the country, and opportunities for American businesses.

Steven Chu
Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy

Representing many of those businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has attacked proposed regulations and greenhouse gas-related legislation as being damaging to business, predicting that it will send companies and jobs to countries with little or no regulation.

Apple Inc. resigned the Chamber earlier this week because of its position and efforts to block change, following Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which did the same thing earlier this year. PNM Resources and Exelon have announced that they, too, plan to leave the Chamber in opposition to its environmental position and policies.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Thomas J. Donohue responded to Apple's departure with a letter chastising the Cupertino company for "forfeiting the opportunity" to work with the organization to approach climate change in a way the Chamber deems prudent.

He followed that up Thursday by telling reporters that his organization was the victim of a conspiracy by environmental groups trying to discredit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by pressuring his member companies to quit. In a press conference, Mr. Donohue told reporters, "There is under way an orchestrated pressure campaign by a couple of environmental groups."

He added, "If [these companies] want to quit, we're sorry to see them go, but it's sort of interesting that we have turnover all the time and these four companies sort of woke up one morning and all decided they were on their own, going to quit and put it in the newspaper."