texas public policy foundation

Harry Brown, North Carolina’s Anti-Wind Lawmaker, Is Backed by Koch Money

Read time: 6 mins
Air Force wind turbine at Cape Cod

This is a guest post by Dave Anderson, Energy and Policy Institute. Originally posted on Energy and Policy Institute.

Harry Brown, the state senator who wants to ban new wind power farms in eastern North Carolina, has received thousands of dollars in campaign money from Koch Industries and other fossil fuel interests.

Brown, who serves as the Republican Majority Leader in the North Carolina Senate, received a $4,000 contribution for his reelection campaign from the Koch Industries Political Action Committee (KochPAC) in August of 2018.

As Cleanup Dispute Looms, Peabody-Linked Group Pushes Navajo Nation to Buy West's Largest Coal Plant

Read time: 12 mins
Navajo Generating Station coal power plant in Arizona

In September 2018, two prospective buyers announced they were dropping out of negotiations to purchase the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), the American West’s largest coal-fired power plant.

Avenue Capital Group and Middle River Power had sought to keep the aging coal plant in business, but “said they could not get anyone to commit to buying power from the plant, delaying the start of an environmental review,” the Associated Press reported. The plant, located in northern Arizona near the Utah border, is currently scheduled to shut down in December, after its current owners concluded in 2017 that its power was too costly to be competitive.

The two firms had progressed further in talks with the coal power plant’s owners than any of the 15 others identified as potential buyers by a consulting firm hired by Peabody Energy, which for decades has mined the coal burned at the plant.

A think tank that’s been backed by Peabody Energy is pushing the sale of the ailing plant and coal mine — and is now finding an audience in the Navajo Nation with the help of a Heartland Institute policy advisor.

Spotlight on Climate Science Denier Kathleen Hartnett White

Read time: 3 mins
Kathleen Hartnett White

For more than three months, the Trump administration tried to get climate science denier Kathleen Hartnett White confirmed for a top environmental post in the White House. But last week, the administration officially withdrew its nomination of Hartnett White, a clearly unqualified candidate who could have had dangerous implications for environmental and public health.

Trump was so committed to Hartnett White that he renominated her after the Senate failed to act on her nomination the first time. But in the end he couldn’t get this climate denier confirmed as the new chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which coordinates environmental policy across federal agencies.

Who is Kathleen Hartnett White and why did she represent such a danger?

Why Has One of the World's Biggest Funders of Environmental Conservation Also Given $4 Million to a Climate Denial Group?

Read time: 4 mins
Kathleen Hartnett White

The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the world’s biggest funders of environmental conservation groups, has given almost $5 million since 2011 to an organization that rejects the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is dangerous, DeSmog has found.

Between 2011 and 2015, financial returns show the Pew Charitable Trusts gave $4.7 million to the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), while giving millions more to dozens of worthy conservation causes.

Kathleen Hartnett White, who is President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, heads TPPF’s Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment.

Hartnett White, who hopes to chair the influential federal council, also rejects the science linking fossil fuel burning to dangerous climate change.

Some of the groups that have received major grants from Pew have been outspoken in their criticisms of Hartnett White, describing her as a “climate change denier” who was unfit for the role. The Pew Charitable Trusts confirmed the grants, but said they were unrelated to work on climate change.

Donald Trump's Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers

Read time: 10 mins

One of President-elect Donald Trump's most pressing current tasks is selecting who will serve in his new administration, especially his transition team and cabinet, though there are over 4,000 political appointees to hire for federal jobs in all.

Much of the mainstream media attention so far has centered around Trump's choices of Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor. Congressional Democrats have called for Bannon to be banned from the White House, citing his personal bigotry and the bigotry often on display on Breitbart.com. Meanwhile, Bannon's hire was praised by the American Nazi Party and KKK.

Yet, perhaps just as troubling is the army of climate change deniers and fossil fuel industry lobbyists helping to pick or court a spot on Trump's future climate and energy team.

Climate Science Denialist Myron Ebell Named As Trump Adviser As Debate Skirts Climate

Read time: 3 mins
Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton, right, at first presidential debate.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s energy policy to dig, drill, and frack as much fossil fuel out of the ground as possible only really works by denying two realities.

The first reality denied is that there is no global agreement to move the world away from the fuels that Trump thinks are the future.

The second reality denied, of course, is the existence of decades of scientific evidence linking fossil fuel burning to dangerous climate change.

So with this in mind, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Myron Ebell seems a perfect addition to Trump’s team.

Kathleen Hartnett White

Kathleen Hartnett White

Credentials

  • M.A., Humanities & Religion, Stanford University. [1], [2][3]
  • B.A. Humanities & Religion, Stanford University. [1], [2][3]
  • Attended Doctoral Program in Religion, specializing in East Asian and comparative Religions, Princeton University. [1], [3]
Read time: 56 mins

Disclosure Fail: Industry Reps Testifying for Denton, Texas Fracking Bill Left Ties Undisclosed

Read time: 3 mins

March 24 hearing prior to the passage of a controversial bill out of committee that preempts cities in Texas from regulating hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas obtained from shale basins, featured numerous witnesses who failed to disclose their industry ties, including some with ties to the Koch brothers

The next day on March 25, Texas Senate Bill 1165 — “Relating to the express preemption of regulation of oil and gas operations and the exclusive jurisdiction of those operations by the state” — passed in the Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee unanimously. Its companion bill, HB 40, also only received a single dissenting vote, and it now advances to a full floor vote in both chambers.  

The legislation is seen by some as part of the multipronged effort to chip away and ultimately defeat the Denton, Texas fracking ban voted on by the city's citizens on Election Day 2014, with another prong being the lawsuits filed against the city.

The March 24 Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development hearing on SB 1165, lasting over four hours, featured a long list of witnesses testifying for and against the bill.

Though everyone testifying in support of it had industry ties, a DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that a few of them did not disclose this when signing up to testify and simply wrote they were testifying as “self.” 

Texas Public Policy Foundation

Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF)

Background

The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is a conservative think tank based in Austin, Texas, founded by James R. Leininger in 1989. [1]

Read time: 45 mins

David Tuerck

David Tuerck

David G. Tuerck

Credentials

  • Doctorate in economics from the University of Virginia.
  • A.M., Economic Policy, George Washington University.
  • A.B., International Affairs, George Washington University.

Background 

Read time: 5 mins

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