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U.S. Chamber of Commerce President: Environmentalists Behind Resignation of Apple, Others

by Daniel Whitten

Environmental groups are trying to discredit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by persuading companies to quit the business group over its stance on greenhouse-gas regulation, chamber President Tom Donohue said.

Computing giant Apple has defected from the US Chamber of Commerce, as a growing rift emerges over the group's opposition to tough climate change rules. in response, Chamber president Thomas Donohue (pictured in this file photo) said Apple did not understand the chamber's goals. (AFP/Pool/File/Jeff Christensen) Apple and PG&E are among companies that have quit the chamber, citing the group's opposition to legislative and regulatory proposals for curbing emissions of carbon dioxide. New Mexico-based PNM Resources and Exelon of Chicago, also said they will leave.

"There is under way an orchestrated pressure campaign by a couple of environmental groups," Donohue, 71, said at a Washington press conference Thursday. The chamber, which calls itself the world's largest business federation, won't give in and change its position, he said.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the spat Thursday, pointing back to Apple's original letter from Monday that outlined why it is leaving the chamber.

"If they want to quit, we're sorry to see them go, but it's sort of interesting that we have turnover all the time and these four companies sort of woke up one morning and all decided they were on their own, going to quit and put it in the newspaper," said Donohue, who has headed the Washington-based organization since 1997.

Donohue said the chamber has held several votes on its climate-change position that went through without objection. Fewer than a dozen companies have expressed displeasure over the group's climate position, he said.
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Energy Secretary Steven Chu told reporters today that it's "wonderful" companies have quit the chamber over the climate issue. The organization should not be "foot-dragging" on global warming, Chu said.

Apple, maker of the Macintosh computer and iPhone, said it resigned in protest over the chamber's opposition to the EPA's efforts to limit greenhouse gases.

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