13 Jun 2007 Activists to Demand Explanations from Caterpillar at Stockholder Meeting Wednesday
Deneen Borelli of the African-American group Project 21 will confront Caterpillar Inc. management at the corporation’s shareholder’s meeting Wednesday, demanding it explain why it joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), which lobbies for energy restrictions on the U.S. economy that would hurt both low income individuals and Caterpillar customers.
The Congressional Budget Office found that the restrictions USCAP seeks would hurt the poorest fifth of the population more than other income groups. As a percentage of wages, the poorest quintile would pay nearly double the costs borne by the richest quintile.
The “cap-and-trade” system for which Caterpillar is lobbying also would target major Caterpillar customers.
“Caterpillar’s participation in the United States Climate Action Partnership is an example of both corporate financial and social irresponsibility,” said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. “Financially, cap-and-trade regulations will harm the mining industry — a key customer of Caterpillar’s products — thereby hurting future profits and shareholders’ interests. In addition, cap-and-trade will have a negative economic impact on consumers, especially lower-income households. According to the Congressional Budget Office, ‘most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers,’ disproportionably harming fixed- and lower-income households. What kind of CEO would intentionally cause financial hardship to his company and millions of consumers?”
Caterpillar’s stance has already cost it money: Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy Corporation has stopped doing business with Caterpillar: “Caterpillar has joined with some of the most radical environmentalists who have been enemies of mining, including coal, for decades… As a result of this, I sent [Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens] a letter a couple of months ago telling him that Murray Energy Corporation will no longer do business with Caterpillar. This will result in the loss of millions of dollars in business to Caterpillar.”
Farmer Joyce Morrison says, “Where Caterpillar used to think first about American agriculture, they have now joined with groups that have been consistently opposed to the growing of America’s food, and opposed to the use of Caterpillar machinery. It is difficult to understand why Caterpillar would work with groups who are unfriendly to agriculture when agriculture has been a source of Caterpillar’s success.”
70+ public policy organizations and affected companies sent a letter Tuesday to Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens urging him to immediately withdraw Caterpillar from USCAP. The letter is available at www.nationalcenter.org/caterpillar_climate.pdf.