Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) is based in the economics department of Suffolk University, a private university located in Boston, Massachusetts. BHI is known for “marshaling economic arguments to roll back clean energy programs in the [United States],” as reported by The Guardian. The institute’s executive director, David Tuerck, has a history of manipulating science on tobacco smoke and climate change. He is currently listed as an “expert” on Heartland’s website and is a regular speaker at their climate denial conferences.
BHI is an affiliate of the State Policy Network (SPN) and has most recently been cited by both American Legislative Exchange Council members and SPN organizations to discredit renewable energy standards. The reports attacking the laws produced by BHI have been thoroughly debunked by independent economists at Synapse Energy Economics. Synapse found “fundamental flaws in both the energy data and the economic modeling used by BHI.” Nevertheless, at least 20 states have seen BHI anti-RES reports over the years.
So far in 2015, BHI has spent its money and time attacking the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. A series of 16 reports opposing the carbon dioxide rules have been funded by a grant passed through a corporate-linked front group called the Employment Policies Institute, run by Richard Berman. Berman is a corporate lobbyist known as “Dr. Evil,” whose front groups “have launched attack ads against the EPA, environmental groups, fishermen and sportsmen, and green building organisations,” according to Media Matters. As CBS’ 60 Minutes documented, Berman is infamous for being the “arch-enemy” of government efforts to reduce the use of “products like caffeine, salt, fast food and the oil they fry it in,” and for opposing “Mothers Against Drunk Driving, animal rights activists, food watchdog groups, and unions of every kind.”
Some of BHI’s reports have been released in partnership with industry-funded state think tanks with ties to the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel special interest groups, and pitched to advance the agenda of model legislation from ALEC. These actions mimic prior ones with regards to their anti-RES reports: a BHI report is published and it’s then amplified via a SPN affiliate while ALEC model legislation is introduced.
The organization has also received funding from foundations and organizations associated with the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel interests.
Below is a list of Beacon Hill Institute anti-RES reports by publication date, including any State Policy Network 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