Updated on August 15, 2018, with new information about the Tucker Carlson anti-wind power story that has now been postponed.
Updated on August 14, 2018, with a summary of President Trump’s remarks last night on “windmills” and “clean coal” at a fundraiser for Rep. Claudia Tenney held in Utica, New York.
Facebook posts have provided a rare window into the sausage-making involved in the production of an anti-wind power story that was originally scheduled to air on Tuesday on the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News.
One post by an anti-wind group contained the text of an email sent by John Droz, Jr., a wind power opponent and climate skeptic with well-documented connections to special interest groups that have received funding from the fossil fuel industry.
“About ten days ago I sent you a draft of a story I wrote about how wind energy is undermining our military and our national security,” Droz said in his email.
Droz noted that his article, “The Sausage-Making of Wind Power vs. the Military,” had since been published on the right-wing blog American Thinker.
“I was just told that Tucker Carlson will be doing a segment on this issue Tuesday (8/14, 8 PM [EST], FoxNews)!” Droz revealed.
“This is a VERY big deal, as this would be the first time this issue has received such national attention,” he said.
Droz had hoped that President Donald Trump would make some anti-wind remarks during his visit today to Fort Drum to sign the National Defense Authorization Act, but Trump made no mention of wind power during his official remarks at the base.
Update: President Trump did talk up “clean coal” and target wind power on Monday night during a fundraiser for Rep. Claudia Tenney that was held in Utica, New York.
“…in a military way, think of it, coal is indestructible,” Trump said. “You can blow up a pipeline. You can blow up windmills.”
“Bing, that’s the end of that windmill, if the birds don’t kill it first,” he said while mimicking firing a pistol with his pointer finger.
After the event, Droz sent a follow-up message that was shared on another anti-wind Facebook page.
“BTW, President Trump did not speak about wind energy interference with the military at his NDAA signing yesterday at Fort Drum,” Droz said. “Later in the day he did make some disparaging comments about wind energy.”
Droz’s communications also revealed that he had been invited to appear on the Tucker Carlson program, but said he declined and “recommended that they have a person with more military experience – as its critical to give this story maximum credibility.”
Droz’s lack of military experience hasn’t stopped him from using national security as a pretense for opposing new wind farms in states like New York, North Carolina, and Texas.
His replacement on the Tucker Carlson show will be Dr. Donna Campbell, a state legislator from Texas who Droz described as the primary sponsor of a bill that “effectively prohibits new wind projects from being within 30 miles of a Texas military facility.”
Update: Droz’s follow-up message revealed that the Tucker Carlson show has postponed the anti-wind story due to “news-cycle developments. Droz also said he has shared “communiques” with Campbell.
“I’ve had a few communiques with my replacement, Senator/Dr. Campbell, and I’m optimistic that she will do a superior job of covering this important topic,” Droz said. “We now have one additional day to prepare, so that’s good.”
Campbell received campaign contributions from Koch Industries’ Political Action Committee in 2017 and 2018, according to FollowtheMoney.org.
The Tucker Carlson show is now being promoted on anonymous anti-wind websites like SaveOurSkylineOhio.com, which largely echoed Droz’s message in all caps:
THIS IS A VERY BIG DEAL! THIS IS THE 1ST TIME THIS ISSUE HAS GARNED NATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION!!” [sic]
The same post on SaveOurSkylineOhio.com downplayed a recent news article that revealed coal producer Murray Energy’s role in funding opposition to an offshore wind power pilot project on Lake Erie.
“The Cleveland Plain Dealer tries to make a big deal out of local citizens receiving help from the owner of Murray Coal in challenging the Lake Erie Icebreaker project,” said the post on SaveOurSkylineOhio.com, which then linked to a letter to the editor by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray.
Droz is a founder of the Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions, an anti-wind network that does not disclose its membership publicly, but has often worked closely with special interest groups funded by the coal industry and Koch brothers.
Screenshots of the Facebook posts that contained Droz’s communications can be found below:
The photo found at the top of this article shows wind turbines located in Kotzebue, Alaska, that are part of the Air Force Energy Assurance at the Remote Radar Sites project. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jason Goins