Americans For Prosperity

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Americans for Prosperity is a national astroturf group founded and funded by the Koch Brothers, who own Koch Industries, a fossil fuel conglomerate. AFP has worked for years campaigning against climate change regulations and clean energy solutions. David H. Koch serves as Chairman of the Board of the AFP Foundation.

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American Legislative Exchange Council

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The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) connects conservative lawmakers with corporate lobbyists and produces model laws that are then introduced in legislatures across the country. ALEC has been described as a “dating service” between politicians at the state level and many of America’s biggest companies, and, as a “corporate bill mill” that generates model legislation to benefit its corporate membership.

Over the past year and a half, ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force (which includes major fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Duke Energy, and Peabody Energy) has approved model language to repeal renewable energy standards (RES), weaken RES laws by watering them down with non-renewable sources of energy, and eliminate solar net metering policies.

In 2013, ALEC boasted in confidential Board of Director materials that “approximately 15 states across the country introduced legislation to reform, freeze, or repeal their state’s renewable [energy] mandate.”

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Americans for Tax Reform

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Americans for Tax Reform is a front group headed by Grover Norquist that has served as a longtime ally of the tobacco industry and fossil fuel industry.

ATR has a well-documented history of working for the tobacco industry to advocate against public health reforms and received substantial funding to support lobbying activities and campaign for the tobacco industry’s interests.

ATR has also served as a front group for fossil fuel interests, receiving at least $525,000 from the American Petroleum Institute between 2008-2011 and $60,000 from foundations connected to Koch Industries between 2003-2011. ATR advocated in numerous states to repeal the renewable energy standard in the past year and a half.

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Beacon Hill Institute

Beacon-Hill-Institute.jpgBased out of Suffolk University’s economics department, the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) wrote a series of distorted reports that ALEC and SPN members have used as a basis to convince state legislators to repeal RES laws. Staff at Beacon Hill are described as friends of Todd Wynn, former director of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force that created the Electricity Freedom Act, one of ALEC’s model bills calling for repeal of RES laws.

BHI’s reports were thoroughly debunked by independent economists at Synapse Energy Economics, whose 2013 analysis found "fundamental flaws in both the energy data and the economic modeling used by BHI." Using this faulty economic data, fossil fuel interests and fossil fuel-funded front groups mounted a full-frontal assault to push state lawmakers to eliminate renewable energy laws. Similar critiques of BHI’s reports can be found in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Morning Sentinel, and the Washington Post. In addition, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council also critiqued the studies, and the Center for American Progress found that electricity prices do not correlate with state RES laws, and the Kansas Corporation Commission also concluded that the RES had little impact on electricity prices.

Below is a full list of Beacon Hill Institute anti-RES reports by publication date, including any State Policy Network (see page 12) co-publishers: 

  • North Carolina, August 2009, conducted for the John Locke Foundation
  • Massachusetts, October 2010
  • Montana, January 2011, with American Tradition Institute (ATI) and Montana Policy Institute
  • Colorado, February 2011, with ATI
  • New Mexico, February 2011, with ATI and Rio Grande Foundation
  • Oregon, March 2011, with Cascade Policy Institute
  • Minnesota, April 2011, with ATI and Minnesota Free Market Institute
  • Ohio, April 2011, with ATI
  • Delaware, May 2011, with ATI and Caesar Rodney Institute
  • Kansas, July 2012, with Kansas Policy Institute
  • Maine, September 2012, with Maine Heritage Policy Center
  • Michigan, September 2012, with Mackinac Center
  • Missouri, November 2012
  • Pennsylvania, December 2012, with Commonwealth Foundation
  • Wisconsin, March 2013, with Wisconsin Policy Research Center
  • Washington, April 2013, with Washington Policy Center
  • Nevada, April 2013, with Nevada Policy Research Institute
  • Arizona, April 2013
  • New Jersey, April 2014
  • Maryland, April 2014
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Energy & Environment Legal Institute

Energy-and-Environment-Legal-Institute.jpgThe Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is the successor to the American Tradition Institute (ATI)/Western Tradition Partnership/American Tradition Partnership, a fossil fuel-funded front group that broke campaign finance laws in 2010 when it mailed fliers attacking legislative candidates.

In 2012, ATI’s Senior Fellow John Droz spearheaded a secret anti-wind meeting between local anti-clean energy groups and national fossil fuel-funded organizations. Another ATI Senior Fellow, Dr. George Taylor, was an attendee of that secretive meeting, and on a questionnaire filled out prior to the event, said that he was an active member of Heartland Institute and American Tradition Institute and had relationships with the Institute for Energy Research (IER) (see below).

David Schnare, a fossil fuel-funded pundit with connections to Heartland Institute, State Policy Network, and other front groups; Chris Horner, a fossil fuel-funded climate denier who works at the Competitive Enterprise Institute; and Tom Tanton, a consultant for the energy industry who has worked for the American Petroleum Institute and the Institute for Energy Research, are all members of the “Senior Leadership” of E&E Legal.

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Heartland Institute

Heartland-Institute.pngThe Heartland Institute has received over $800,000 from fossil fuel interests and routinely attacks clean energy and the science behind climate change. Furthermore, Heartland Institute sponsored ALEC’s “Electricity Freedom Act,” model legislation which, if passed, would repeal state renewable energy standards. Efforts to eliminate these pro-clean energy policies failed in 16 states across the country this year. 

Heartland was recently the center of controversy after comparing people that believe in climate change to the Unabomber. In the past, Heartland Institute worked with the tobacco industry to minimize the negative public perception that second-hand tobacco smoke was bad for your health and lobbied against public health reforms.   

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Institute for Energy Research / American Energy Alliance

Institute-for-Energy-Research.jpgInstitute for Energy Research (IER), and its advocacy arm the American Energy Alliance (AEA), are pro-fossil fuel and anti-clean energy “think tanks” that have received funding from ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers.

Daniel Simmons, IER’s Director of Regulatory and State Affairs, testified against state clean energy laws in multiple states in 2013. Before joining IER, Simmons served as the Director of the Natural Resources Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and was a Research Fellow at the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

IER commissioned a flawed economic study by Spanish economist, Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, that concluded that for every job created in green energy, 2.2 jobs are lost elsewhere. This “study” questioning the job and economic benefits of renewable energy development has been thoroughly debunked by a wide range of organizations, from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to The Wall Street Journal.

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State Policy Network

State-Policy-Network.pngThe State Policy Network (SPN) is the umbrella organization for 59 state-based front groups that serve a critical function for their donors (including fossil fuel interests like the Koch Brothers): providing intellectual backing and research to advance specific policy goals. The SPN has strong central control over the funding of its affiliates and coordinates its largely homogenous agenda. SPN is a member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force and at least eight SPN affiliates are also members of the task force.

SPN-groups have co-published flawed economic reports written by the Koch-funded and SPN-affiliated Beacon Hill Institute (see above) that were used to inflate the cost of renewable energy standards (RES) and ignore the economic benefits of pro-clean energy laws. SPN groups published carbon copies of the report by the same three authors in 20 states using the same flawed methodology.

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