Energy & Environment Legal Institute

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a nonprofit think tank [formerly the American Tradition Institute (ATI)] that engages in litigation and policy research to “hold accountable those who seek destructive government regulation that’s based on agenda-driven policy making, junk science, and hysteria.” The organization’s website at one time stated it “is part of a broader network of groups with close ties to energy interests that have long fought greenhouse gas regulation,” although that text has now been removed.

In 2012, The Guardian published a memo prepared by an E&E Legal fellow about a secret anti-wind meeting between local anti-clean energy groups and national fossil fuel-funded organizations seeking to organize widespread opposition against wind energy through a deceptive public relations campaign. Other members of E&E Legal’s senior leadership have ties to fossil fuel interests as well: David Schnare, a fossil fuel-funded pundit with connections to The Heartland Institute, State Policy Network, and other front groups; and Chris Horner, a fossil fuel-funded climate denier who works at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an advocacy group with ties to tobacco disinformation campaigns.

In 2011, ATI and plaintiff Rod Luck sued the State of Colorado over the state’s renewable energy standard, arguing that the law violates the Constitution’s Interstate Commerce clause by discriminating against out-of-state energy sources. But this year, a federal judge upheld Colorado’s RES by rejecting E&E Legal’s claims.

In 2014, Tom Tanton, Director of Science and Technology Assessment for E&E Legal, testified in Congress on state energy policies. Tanton criticized renewable energy standards and cited papers published by his organization that were produced by the Beacon Hill Institute. He also referenced an ALEC policy paper, which he authored, to back up his claim that net metering is an unfair policy.

E&E Legal’s attacks on renewable energy policies continued in 2015 in addition to their attacks on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Tanton joined the Heartland Daily Podcast in January to discuss why states should re-examine their RES policies. Schnare also authored a post attacking RES laws. He cited a report by the Institute for Political Economy at Utah State University on Kansas’ RES. Schnare fails to mention the Koch-funding connection with that report. He concluded his post by telling readers to urge their state representatives to oppose RES laws, and writes, “It’s your money and your lives at stake.”