Apollo Alliance (AA)

organization

Overview

  • Project of the Tides Center
  • Environmental organization that grew out of the Campaign for America’s Future
  • Believes that expanded government intervention and control is the solution to all social and economic problems
  • A notable Apollo Alliance board member is Van Jones.
  • Has much influence on the Obama administration’s environmental policies

The earliest roots of the Apollo Alliance (AA) can be traced back to 2004, when Joel Rogers (from the Center On Wisconsin Strategy, or COWS), Robert Borosage (Institute for America’s Future, or IAF), and Dan Carol (Carol/Trevelyan Strategy Group, or CTSG) approached United Steelworkers of America president Leo Gerard and SEIU president Andrew Stern to propose the creation of a new coalition of organized labor, environmental organizations, business leaders, and social justice activists – all dedicated to the achievement of American energy independence.

In order to get their enterprise off the ground, Rogers, Borosage, and Carol submitted a funding proposal to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which in turn gave them a $75,000 grant to bankroll a public-opinion research project on the viability of forming such a coalition. Thus was born the Apollo Alliance, identifying itself as a joint project of COWS, IAF, CTSG, Americans for Energy Freedom, and the anti-capitalist Common Assets Defense Fund.

Deriving its name from the “big, bold and fast” Apollo space program that in 1962 resolved to put a man on the moon and achieved its goal within a mere seven years, the nascent AA sought to “catalyze a clean energy revolution that [would] put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs.” By promoting “energy efficiency, clean power, mass transit, next-generation vehicles, and emerging technology,” the Alliance pledged to help “reduce carbon emissions and oil imports, spur domestic job growth, and position America to thrive in the 21st century economy.”

The centerpiece of AA’s environmental program was a “Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence,” which promoted renewable energy, hybrid vehicles, a modernized electrical infrastructure, energy-efficient buildings and appliances, and a greater number of government-imposed “regulatory protections.” Also central to AA’s agenda was the advancement of “smart urban growth,” whose purpose, as author Stanley Kurtz has explained, is to blend affluent white suburbs, economically and politically, into the poorer, mostly nonwhite cities which they border — chiefly for the purpose of redistributing large portions of property-tax and school-tax revenues from the suburbs to the cities.

AA’s first executive director was Bracken Hendricks, a former Clintonadministration staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a onetime economic adviser to the AFL-CIO, and a future senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

AA’s 11-member national steering committee in 2004 consisted not only of co-founders Rogers, Borosage, and Carol, but also included such notables as Mark RitchieVan Jones, and leading figures from Global Green USA, the Sierra Club, and a number of other organizations and labor unions. Van Jones described AA’s mission as “sort of a grand unified field theory for progressive left causes.”

Also in 2004, AA’s four founding board members were Leo GerardCarl Pope, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and U.S. Senator Maria CantwellAdditionalboard members thereafter included people like Joel Rogers, Robert Borosage, John Podesta, Robert Redford, and key figures affiliated with organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense CouncilGreen For All, the SEIU, the Blue Green Alliance, the Sierra Club, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

One of AA’s most noteworthy partner groups was the infamously corrupt, anti-capitalist community organization ACORN.

In late 2007, AA “spun off” from its founding organizations, established its own independent board of directors, expanded its staff and activities, and became a project of the Tides Center.

In 2009, Jeff Jones, a former leader of the Weather Underground terrorist organization in the 1970s, served as director of AA’s New York State affiliate and as a consultant to AA national.

AA exerted a powerful influence on the views and policies of the Obamaadministration, helping to craft significant portions of the $787 billion “stimulus” legislation – officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – that President Obama signed into law in early 2009. Specifically, AA had a hand in writing the “clean energy and green-collar jobs provisions” of the bill, for which $86 billion was earmarked. This included funds “to build new transit and high speed rail lines, weatherize homes, develop next generation batteries for clean vehicles, scale up wind and solar power, build a modern electric grid, and train a new generation of green-collar workers.” As the Capital Research Center notes, Bracken Hendricks’ 2007 book Apollo’s Fire “included electric vehicle tax credits, an alternative refueling property tax credit, a residential energy-efficient property tax credit, funding for advanced lighting research, and large subsidies for power transmission lines for renewable electric sources” – all of which were contained in the 2009 stimulus bill. Moreover, the stimulus included provisions to funnel federal money to left-wing community-organizing groups and social-justice organizations that were active members of AA.

Confirming the magnitude of AA’s role in shaping the stimulus bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in mid-2009: “The Apollo Alliance has been an important factor in helping us [the U.S. Senate] develop and execute a strategy that makes great progress on these goals and in motivating the public to support them.” That July, Senator Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosiappointed AA board chairman Phil Angelides to serve as chair of the federal government’s newly created Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

In 2010, it was reported that AA had been instrumental in helping to draft the “Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology Act of 2009,” a bill sponsored by Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

Over the years, AA received funding  from numerous foundations and activist organizations, among which were the Beldon Fund, the Bullitt Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett FoundationMoveOn.org, the New-Land FoundationRockefeller Financial Services, the Tides Foundation & Tides Center, the Town Creek Foundation, the Wallace Global FundChange To Win, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Natural Resources Defense Council

In July 2011, AA merged with the Blue Green Alliance and became a project of that organization.

For additional information on the Apollo Alliance, click here.

 

 

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