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Five and Counting: Apple Quits Chamber of Commerce

Apple has turned in its membership card to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- effective immediately -- over the business lobbying group's opposition to the Environmental Protection's Agency effort to limit greenhouse gases.

Apple's departure from the Chamber may not be as surprising as say, three utilities quitting the business lobby group in a week.

After all, climate change guru and former vice president Al Gore sits on the Apple's board. The company also stepped up its effort to report all of the greenhouse gas emissions produced from manufacturing, shipping and use of its products by consumers.

Still, Apple is the fifth company in recent weeks to leave the U.S. Chamber, all because of the organization's stance on climate change and its opposition to legislation passed by the House this summer or through further regulation from the EPA.

Pacific Gas & Electric kicked off the membership exodus last month, followed a week later by two other utilities, Exelon and New Mexico's PNM. The three utilities will allow their memberships to expire at the end of the year.

Nike -- a longtime proponent of reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- resigned from the Chamber's board to protest the group's opposition to legislation that seeks limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Nike is the first and only board member to resign, so far. The company will remain a member to "advocate for climate change legislation inside the committee structure."

Apple quit the lobby group over its recent comments on proposed rules from the EPA to control emissions from refineries, utilities and factories.

The EPA proposed last week regulations that would force new or substantially modified industrial plants emitting at least 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to minimize emissions. Some 14,000 industrial facilities are expected to impacted by the proposed rules.

So what is the Chamber's position on climate change? The organization outlines its five positions on energy and environment on its Web site, including its stance on the EPA's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

U.S. Chamber President Thomas Donohue posted these comments last week on climate change. It is here, the chamber stresses that "Congress should set climate change policy through legislation, rather than having the EPA apply existing environmental statutes that were not created to regulate greenhouse gas emissions."

It was this letter that may have pushed Apple to quit. In a letter from Catherine Novelli, Apple's vice president, worldwide government affairs:

"As a company, we are working hard to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions by relying on renewable energy at our facilities and designing more energy-efficient products for our customers. We have undertaken this unilaterally and without government mandate because we believe its is the right thing to do. For those companies who cannot or will not do the same, Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort.

We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis. However, because the Chamber's position differs so sharply with Apple's, we have decided to resign our membership effective immediately."

For other BNET coverage of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce climate policy issue: