Green Mountain.... . . supports incineration as a "renewable" energy.
. . . lies to and misleads consumers.
. . . opposes strong renewable energy laws.
. . . is run by former leaders of corporate polluters.
. . . is owned by major financial supporters of George W. Bush for President.
. . . married BP Amoco, changed their name and moved to Texas.
Where Does Their Energy Come From?
Green Mountain's energy products are misleading and do more harm than good:
Green Mountain's power is largely from repackaging existing power that was already built and was not at risk of going away. The small portion of Green Mountain's energy that comes from NEW renewables is predominantly from polluting combustion sources like the burning of toxic landfill gases or the burning of industrial wood wastes. Only a very small fraction of their power comes from new CLEAN renewables like wind and solar. Most of the difference that Green Mountain is currently making is NEGATIVE in that it's doing more to support new polluting incinerators than to build new clean renewables.
Green Mountain lies about its energy sources in Pennsylvania
("Can "Green" Energy Make a Difference?" Part 3 in a Series by Pennsylvania Environmental Network, February 1999)
When plant managers at these facilities were notified of GMER's claims that their energy was being sold to Pennsylvanians as "green energy," they all responded with surprise that this is even being claimed. Responses were resoundingly similar: "there's no deal like that," "Whoever Green Mountain Energy is, they're not buying from me," "Green Mountain has nothing to do with this plant," and "Green Mountain is not buying the power from our facilities." Some were more pointed: "they could make a backhanded claim that the power is generated from landfill gas, but I would take great exception to that," and "they're lying and if they're trying to make money on it, it's fraud... it's outright fraud."
Green Mountain also misleads customers by claiming that their energy is free of coal and nuclear power. The bulk of Green Mountain's products come from reselling power from large coal and nuclear utilities like Pacificorp, Allegheny Power and Conectiv.
GreenMountain.com Pays $100,000 to Settle Misleading Advertising Charges with PA Attorney General
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 27, 1999)
In its ads, GreenMountain.com listed its rates without including state tax while it listed the prices of competing power companies including the tax. The effect was to overstate the amount of savings that customers would enjoy by switching to GreenMountain.com.
Renewable Portfolio Standards are the only effective way to transition from dirty power sources to clean renewables. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) can be put into state or federal law and would require ALL utilities or energy marketers to have a certain percentage of renewables in their mix. This percentage would increase over time.
Green energy marketers like GreenMountain.com rely on a free market approach, which sees strong RPS laws as a threat to their ability to market supposedly cleaner power. For details on Green Mountain's position on RPS, visit the following links:
Contrary to their image, Green Mountain is not run by a crew of dedicated environmentalists. Rather, it is largely run by people who have been leaders in polluting corporations.
Green Mountain Power Corporation is a Vermont utility involved in nuclear reactors and destructive large hydro dams. When Green Mountain Energy was first created, the management of Green Mountain Energy came straight out of Green Mountain Power Corporation (GMP). Douglas G. Hyde, GMP's President and CEO resigned these positions to become the first President and CEO of GMER. In addition, three GMP Vice-Presidents, GMP's General Council and many others resigned in order to help run Green Mountain Energy. Of 40 original Green Mountain Energy employees, 28 were former Green Mountain Power employees.
Of the 12 people listed on Green Mountain's "Management Team" website in May 2000, 5 held leading positions in Green Mountain Power. Four other members of the Green Mountain "Management Team" have been involved in corporate polluters, including British Petroleum, Amoco, DTE Co-Energy, Proctor & Gamble, and SouthStar Energy Services (a corporation involved in the natural gas industry).
Read The Story Behind Green Mountain for a detailed look at Green Mountain's origins.
As of May, 2000, Green Mountain Energy is now partially owned (18.5%) by the world's 3rd largest oil corporation... BP Amoco (soon to be the 2nd largest once they swallow up ARCO).
As part of the new changes at Green Mountain, they'll be moving from the Green Mountain state (Vermont) to Texas, where BP Amoco and the Wyly family (billionaire funders of George W. Bush and owners of Green Mountain) reside.
Other changes will include Green Mountain's 3rd name change:
Read about these changes and more in the article,
Crude Awakening -- There's more Lone Star than Long Trail in GreenMountain.com (Seven Days Newspaper, May 9th, 2000).
On May 3rd, 2000, GreenMountain.com announced a new partnership with BP Amoco and Lycos. (See news release for details: BP Amoco and Others to Invest in GreenMountain.com)
It is ironic, but not surprising that Green Mountain would partner with known greenwasher and polluter, BP Amoco. Two of Green Mountain's management team used to work for British Petroleum and/or Amoco. Is Green Mountain being used to make BP Amoco look environmentally-friendly or is BP Amoco being used to help bolster Green Mountain's unprofitable and not-so-clean energy products? You decide...
Green Mountain has used solar energy in a way that does more to provide them with good public relations than to do anything meaningful for energy production. (see Philadelphia Inquirer article on the 43 kilowatt plant they built in Pennsylvania -- this is after promising to build a 130 kilowatt plant)
Also, BP Amoco's Solar Power Greenwashing has been exposed by Greenpeace, Corporate Watch and others.
BP Amoco is one of the top 10 toxic polluters in the U.S. They are the leading force behind attempts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil exploration. BP Amoco is responsible for 104 oil spills in America’s Arctic between January 1997 and March 1998. That one spill every four days.
On Sept. 23, 1999, BP Amoco plead guilty to a federal felony conviction connected to illegal dumping of hazardous waste at their Endicott Oil Field near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. As part of a plea agreement BP Amoco agreed to pay a $22 million in criminal and civil penalties. BP Amoco had touted Endicott as an "environmentally friendly" oil field;
BP is also responsible for the second largest oil spill in California history, a 400,000 gallon spill that covered twenty square miles near Huntington Beach, California, in 1991.
Find out more at BP Amoco's Corporate Dirt Archive.
Lycos is no angel, either. In 1998, they almost plunged EnviroLink Network into financial oblivion when they reacted to a right wing campaign against EnviroLink's hosting of animal rights web pages. Read more about it Friends of EnviroLink page.
The deals with BP Amoco and Lycos help to increase sales of Green Mountain's energy products. Until Green Mountain promises to stop using combustion technologies as renewable energy sources, additional growth of Green Mountain will mean more polluting incinerators being built instead of clean renewables like wind and solar.
The billionaire Wyly family of Texas owns and directs GreenMountain.com Company. They made their original fortunes on oil and mining and are one of the largest financial backers of George W. Bush's campaign for President. The Wyly family has a long history of supporting anti-environmental Republicans for congress.
Thorough documentation on the history of the Wylys can be found in the following articles:
Wylys have been the 3rd largest financial supports for Bush's governor campaigns: "The Wylys also have longstanding political interests, and they've been Bush backers since former President Bush was a congressman in the 1960s. They donated $210,000 to the younger Bush's 1994 and 1998 gubernatorial campaigns, trailing only Enron Corporation and the Bass family, the Fort Worth billionaires, as Bush's largest contributors in the races."
The following groups are boycotting Green Mountain to get them to commit to not using polluting combustion technologies for their renewable energy sources:
Environmental Working Group's Boycott of Green Mountain:
In March 2000, the Environmental Working Group, a national environmental organization, declared their own boycott on Green Mountain over the issue of the Wyly family's connection to the company. This boycott was withdrawn after the Wyly family promised to stop buying political ads.
In February, 1999, the Pennsylvania Environmental Network (PEN) declared a boycott on Green Mountain Energy Resources, now called GreenMountain.com Company. Since then, 12 other environmental groups have joined the boycott.
The boycott is in effect until Green Mountain agrees to the following two demands:
As the market leader, Green Mountain can set the tone for the rest of the industry. If they fail to do so, "green energy" in the U.S. will come mostly from smokestacks instead of wind mills.
They have a responsibility to ensure that green energy means new clean renewables like wind and solar, not new incinerators.
If your group is interested in joining this boycott, please notify the Energy Justice Network at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mike Ewall at 215-743-4884.
The only energy marketer in the U.S. so far that is selling a clean and responsible product is Community Energy. Their product supports new wind and does not support development of any polluting energy sources. Unfortunately, their products are only available to commercial users in the PECO service territory (Philadelphia area) so far. By the end of 2000, they hope to be able to serve the rest of Pennsylvania, including residential customers.
If you know of any other energy marketers who you think are selling a biomass-free, clean energy product, please let us know at email@example.com so that we can list them here.
This will inform Green-e and Green Mountain (through their representative on the Green Power Board) that you support truly clean renewables and that you want the right to know where your energy comes from.
There are NO green energy companies providing power for residential customers yet. Companies like Green Mountain should actually become clean by swearing off of incinerators. Once they do, their products will be worth supporting. Until then, they'll be doing more harm than good.
...and you're already a Green Mountain customer, write to the company and ask them to tell you EXACTLY which facilities provide their energy. Let them know that you'll switch to another company unless they commit to not using combustion technologies for their renewable energy sources. Tell them you'll switch back once they go clean.
...and you're not a Green Mountain customer, write to them and let them know that you'd like to switch to a clean energy company, but you cannot support them until they commit to not using combustion technologies for their renewable energy sources.
Dennis W. Kelly, CEO
Green Mountain Energy Company
3815 Capital of Texas Highway South, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78704
877-880-8409 (customer toll-free hotline)
800-286-5856 (call center)
Last modified: 1 June 2000
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