Sometimes People Really ARE Out to Get You

The Guardian has a rather startling story about organized efforts to stamp out wind and solar energy.  (I suppose the fact that I find it startling is an indication of my naiveté.)   Not too surprisingly, the Koch oil interests are a major funding sources.

The Guardian lists some of the efforts to eliminate clean energy, which seem to be at least loosely coordinated:

A new $6m election ad buy by the ultra-conservative group Americans for Prosperity attacking Barack Obama’s support for wind and solar power.

An email and telephone campaign by the American Legislative Exchange Council and Americans for Tax Reform to repeal or alter clean energy mandates requiring electricity companies to get a share of their power from renewables.

Putting forward Alec-drafted bills overturning those measures in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Colorado, Montana and Washington state.

Droz [a senior fellow at the American Traditions Institute), in the telephone interview, confirmed that he had enlisted support for telephone campaigns from Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks – both of which have received funds from the Koch family. He also appeared at an anti-wind forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina last December.

The story also reports efforts to coordinate and support NIMBY efforts by local residents.  Lest I be accused to peddling a conspiracy theory, I should say that this seems like more of a network with some shared funding sources and coordination.  As the joke goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that you don’t have enemies.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Sometimes People Really ARE Out to Get You”

  1. For most of these groups, this is just business-as-usual anti-subsidy work. Opposing subsidies is not the same thing as opposing a technology.

    The memo is potentially more troubling, particularly insofar as it contemplates encouraging erecting legal obstacles to wind, but there is no evidence it went anywhere. As the Guardian reports, it was just a proposal by one guy. It was disavowed by the group and there’s no evidence any group acted on it. Further, even if it had come to fruition, $750K is meaningless in this policy space. The Sierra Club got over $20 million from a single natural gas company for climate and energy work in a single year.

    The Guardian got a breathless story out of this, but there’s not much to it.

  2. For most of these groups, this is just business-as-usual anti-subsidy work. Opposing subsidies is not the same thing as opposing a technology.

    The memo is potentially more troubling, particularly insofar as it contemplates encouraging erecting legal obstacles to wind, but there is no evidence it went anywhere. As the Guardian reports, it was just a proposal by one guy. It was disavowed by the group and there’s no evidence any group acted on it. Further, even if it had come to fruition, $750K is meaningless in this policy space. The Sierra Club got over $20 million from a single natural gas company for climate and energy work in a single year.

    The Guardian got a breathless story out of this, but there’s not much to it.

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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