WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Oil company BP said on Monday it has stopped supporting conservative political group ALEC, becoming the latest corporation to end its membership in a group critics say works to deny the existence of climate change.
"We have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC," a spokesman said. BP was the second large oil company to drop support of the group after Occidental Petroleum cut ties last year.
Companies have come under pressure from environmental and civic groups to end their associations with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a coalition of about 2,000 state lawmakers and corporations that promotes free trade and limited government intervention.
With the sharp drop in oil prices since last year, energy companies have also come under pressure to cut capital costs, personnel, and other expenses.
The BP spokesman would not comment further on what caused the company to take the move.
Common Cause and other civic groups have said ALEC promotes measures to deny the existence of climate change, defund public services and limit workers' protections.
Late last year online auction company Ebay Inc ended its association with ALEC. Earlier in 2014, Google did the same. Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said his company wanted out because ALEC was "literally lying" about climate change, and several other tech companies stopped supporting ALEC afterwards.
ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling said his group looks forward to potential future partnerships with BP. "ALEC is proud to stand with American business, especially energy companies, to advance jobs, opportunity and innovation across the United States," he said.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Diane Craft)