On May 8, 2012, The Guardian published documents obtained by the Checks and Balances Project to expose a network of conservative groups ramping up an offensive on multiple fronts to turn the American public against wind farms and Barack Obama’s energy agenda. This coordination between local anti-wind groups and fossil fuel-funded advocacy groups’ attacking clean energy has since been disavowed.

On February 1st and 2nd, at least two prominent advocacy groups connected to fossil fuel corporations, the American Tradition Institute (ATI) and Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), met in Washington with 32 NIMBY (“Not in my backyard”) organizations to discuss a coordinated “subversion” campaign to wreck wind energy.

The American Tradition Institute is now the Energy & Environment Legal Institute.

As Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian writes, “The strategy session is the latest evidence of a concerted attack on the clean energy industry by think tanks and lobby groups connected to oil and coal interests and free-market ideologues.”

The document, “National_PR_Campaign_Proposal,” authored by American Tradition Institute Fellow John Droz, Jr., indicates the meetings were called to discuss plans for a coordinated national disinformation campaign against wind energy.  The document details a series of wind energy attacks ranging from “counter intelligence,” setting up a “dummy business” and steering kids away from science projects on wind because, “it doesn’t meet the criteria we set up.”

The document also notes that they should coordinate national messaging but make sure the same message “appears to come from as many as a dozen separate sources.”

According to The Guardian, “There is evidence that network is already coming into being. Since the meeting, participants have pooled efforts to make phone calls and send email to members of Congress.”

Posted by Gabe Elsner

Gabe Elsner is the founder and former executive director of the Energy & Policy Institute. He is a thought leader on defending policies from attacks by incumbent energy interests and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Daily Mail, The Australian, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. The Energy & Policy Institute’s work has protected dozens of public policies that support the growth of the clean-tech industry.