On Thursday, July 24, Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing entitled “Laboratories of Democracy: The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies.” The hearing featured testimony from representatives of Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), Manhattan Institute, and Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, all of which have received funding from fossil fuel interests and primarily advocate for the continued use of fossil fuels over renewable energy.

Tom Tanton is the director of science and technology assessment at E&E Legal and the president of T2 & Associates, an energy and technology consulting firm whose clients have included the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Between 2003 and 2007, Tanton was the vice president and senior fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, a Texas-based think tank that has received $307,000 from Exxon Mobil and $175,000 from Koch Industries.

E&E Legal is a non-profit think tank (formerly the American Tradition Institute or ATI) that received $140,000 from Doug Lair of Lair Petroleum in 2010. E&E Legal has taken issue with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, especially on the topic of anthropogenic climate change. E&E Legal’s predecessor, the American Tradition Institute, broke campaign finance laws in 2010 when it mailed fliers attacking legislative candidates. 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 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.

Fred Siegel, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, will also testify. The Manhattan Institute is a non-profit think tank that has received $1.3 million from the Koch Family Foundations and $315,000 from ExxonMobil. The Manhattan Institute is further tied to the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through the State Policy Network (SPN). SPN is “a web of right-wing ‘think tanks’ in every state across the country” and is also funded by the Koch Brothers.

Dr. Bernard Weinstein will represent Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Energy Institute, which received its initial funding from Cary M. Maguire, president of the Maguire Oil Company. Weinstein has also worked as a consultant for the American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade association for the oil and gas industry, as well as for Energy Future Holdings Corporation, Texas’ largest power company that primarily sells and consumes coal and natural gas. API, like the Koch Family Foundations, is a major funder of fossil fuel-funded front groups, such as ALEC and Americans for Prosperity.

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.