Mohawk Paper Joins Chamber of Commerce Exodus

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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Mohawk Fine Papers became the latest company to resign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over climate policy disagreements, adding more embarrassment to an already rough week for the Chamber.

According to the Mohawk press release:

“We believe that our continued membership in an organization that vigorously opposes sensible climate change policies is detrimental to our position as a business leader with a strong record in the areas of environmental innovation and climate protection,” says George F. Milner, Mohawk’s Senior VP, Energy, Environmental, and Government Affairs.

“We understand that the U.S. Chamber’s job is to promote policies that represent the consensus opinion of its membership; but the Chamber also has a responsibility to shape that consensus with vision, guidance and leadership that looks beyond ideological divisions. That is particularly important in the area of climate change policies,” Milner wrote in a letter to the Chamber last week.

Mohawk specifically cited the Chamber’s efforts to derail Congressional climate and energy bills, and its call on EPA for a “Scopes Monkey Trial” debate on man-made climate change, as reasons for exiting the Chamber.  

The Yes Men punked the Chamber yesterday in a fake news conference, drawing Chamber spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel into an uncomfortable position when real reporters started asking him why the Chamber is clinging to its position denying climate change. After stumbling through a few defensive replies, Wohlschlegel handed out business cards and left the scene.

The Huffington Post reported last week that MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, the holding company owned by multi-billionaire Ronald Perelman, is also debating whether to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its extreme climate position and “Scopes Monkey Trial” challenge to the EPA over the Clean Air Act.

The Chamber has been losing members – real members out of its actual 300,000 or less total – at a rate of several each week lately.  Apple was the most recent in a string of high-profile defections including Exelon, Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co., PSEG, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

Mother Jones magazine has done several excellent pieces recently explaining the reasons behind the exodus, including an excellent article titled “Inside the Chamber of Carbon.”

Who will be the next to abandon the rapidly-shrinking Chamber over its extreme climate position?

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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