Construction firm Skanska on Tuesday became the latest in a string of members to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the organization’s regressive policies.

This week we had great news when Skanska Corp. made the decision to depart the U.S. Chamber. The U.S. Chamber is fighting new green construction standards that the company supports. The U.S. Chamber was so determined to block these new standards that it helped start an advocacy group – the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition – dedicated to opposing them.

Skanksa said in its press release that the U.S. Chamber was supporting the interests of a few status quo businesses – those who manufacture materials that would be banned under new rules – over those of companies that are bringing innovation to the building and construction industry.

At least one member of the U.S. Chamber-backed advocacy group  said that the new rules would put jobs at risk.

But Skanska USA’s CEO Mike McNally shared another point of view, pointing out that the U.S Chamber’s efforts  could potentially damage the construction industry, which has seen wide and innovative adoption of green building standards.

Given that many economists see construction as one key to the country’s economic recovery, the U.S. Chamber’s position seems contradictory to the giant banner hanging outside the organization’s headquarters that reads, “J-O-B-S”.

McNally also pushed back against calls by AHPBC for “consensus” on construction standards, saying, “There’s never going to be a consensus [on new rules]. You’d still have asbestos in buildings, you’d still have lead paint in buildings, because God forbid you should disadvantage the lead-paint business.”

Skanska is not the first company to leave the U.S. Chamber with similar grievances. Several former members – including Apple, Yahoo, Pacific Gas and Electric, and more than 50 local Chambers – have quit the organization over the past few years because of its stances on the environment or other issues.

Examples of the U.S. Chamber’s broader views on environment include calling for climate science to be put on trial and challenging in court a finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse gases threaten public health.

We applaud the company’s move and hope that other firms follow its lead.

Jake Parent is the coordinator of Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch. To learn more about Chamber Watch, follow @uschamberwatch on Twitter and sign up for email updates.

Comments

  • Bill

    The U S Chamber is essentionaly an arm of the far, far out of touch with reality, Republican Cartel.

  • Michele

    The US Chamber of Commerce is an arm of the Republican Party that has a strategy to control components of government and states since it lost political power. Its ideology is carried out without regard to public welfare or the best interest of the US, only what serves the party’s agenda to increase profits to the wealthy and resist change at all cost other than its own. Its ideology however has hit its ceiling and loss of political power cannot be controlled by economics in the intermediate or long term. The US Chamber of Commerce does not represent business, it represents a minority in fear.

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