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K Street Files: Warming Up

A month after losing three heavyweights from its roster, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership has added forest products company Weyerhaeuser to the coalition of business and environmental groups lobbying for climate and energy legislation.

“The forest products industry will play a leading role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide using biomass from forests, a sustainable resource and one of the best at sequestering carbon,” Weyerhaeuser CEO Dan Fulton said in a statement.

Weyerhaeuser owns or manages 21 million acres of timberland.

Oil companies BP and ConocoPhillips and agriculture giant Caterpillar Inc. exited USCAP last month.

The departures came after USCAP took a lower-profile lobbying approach after being praised last year by Members of Congress for its draft of climate change principles.

BP and ConocoPhillips’ exit left USCAP with only one oil company, Shell, as a member and showed a growing divide between energy sectors on how to address climate change issues.

Back in Biz. Public relations veteran Gloria Dittus has launched a new firm, Story Partners. Dittus previously opened two firms, Direct Impact and Dittus Communications. She sold Dittus Communications to Financial Dynamics. Dittus will be joined by several former alumni from her earlier ventures.

Loran Aiken, a veteran campaign strategist; Amos Snead, former spokesman to House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); Rick Heartsill, former chief of staff to then-Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.); and Shelton Jones, former director of financial services for Dittus Communications, are at the new shop. The firm will have offices in Washington, D.C., Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans. Story Partners will not lobby, according to Aiken.

Done Deal. The National Retail Federation has hired Matt Shay, most recently head of the International Franchise Association, as its CEO and president. The announcement came on the heels of NRF member JCPenney deciding to leave the trade group. Home Depot and Limited Brands also quit the NRF in the last year.

But the NRF has added more than 150 members in the last quarter, including Meijer, J.Jill, Sony and Under Armour, NRF spokesman Scott Krugman said.

Shay is replacing Tracy Mullin, who is retiring after 17 years as president of the trade group.

The NRF had been in merger negotiations with the Retail Industry Leaders Association, but the two groups decided to go their own ways after talks broke down last year. The NRF is the largest retail trade association made up of small and large retailers.

Shay said he doesn’t expect to make major changes at the NRF but wants the group’s advocacy footprint to be as large as its members’ economic footprint.

He said joining the NRF was like “coming home.” Twenty years ago, Shay worked in government relations for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Shay, who had been at the IFA since 1993, took over as president in 2004 and CEO in 2007. The IFA will be launching a search for a new head to replace Shay, he said. The IFA represents more than 1,300 franchise companies.

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