Property and Environment Research Center

Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)


The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), formerly the Political Economy Research Center, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that promotes Free Market Environmentalism (FME), which it describes as “an approach to environmental problems that focuses on improving environmental quality using property rights and markets.” [1]

PERC was founded over 30 years ago in Bozeman, Montana, where it began as a think tank where “scholars documented how government regulation and bureaucracy often led to environmental degradation.” The organization's latest development is the “PERC University” campus where “scholars, journalists, policy makers, and environmental practitioners can come together to share knowledge, refine their work, and engage in robust discussion” about free market environmentalism. [2]

Terry Anderson, former president of the PERC, was a previous member of George W. Bush's presidential campaign environmental advisory staff, as was former PERC fellow Gale Norton. In 1998, Kathryn Ratte of PERC, addressed the Petroleum Association of America on how to get their message into public schools. She said that “politically correct environmentalism invaded U.S. public classrooms years ago, and is helping to hold the door shut on your message.” [3]

The PERC has long advocated for the privatization of America's national parks, and recently (as of 2015) has pushed for no more national parks. [4]

PERC has received significant funding from Koch Foundations and related organizations, as well as from the fossil fuel industry and Donors Trust, a group that has been called the “dark-money ATM” of the conservative movement by Mother Jones. [5]

Stance on Climate Change

Former PERC President and Executive Director Terry Anderson has published a number of Op-Eds and articles putting forward his views on climate change. For example:

“Neanderthals survived many periods of abrupt climate change […] If they survived and adapted to abrupt climate change, surely modern man ought to be able to adapt to long-term changes, provided government climate policies don’t stifle human progress and economic growth.” [27]

The following is taken from a 2010 PERC Report titled “The Case Against the Hockey Stick” by Matt Ridley:

“Of course, there is other evidence for global warming, but none of it proves that the recent warming is unprecedented. Indeed, quite the reverse: surface temperatures, sea levels, tree lines, glacier retreats, summer sea ice extent in the Arctic, early spring flowers, bird migration, droughts, floods, storms—they all show change that is no different in speed or magnitude from other periods, like 1910–1940, at least as far as can be measured. There may be something unprecedented going on in temperature, but the only piece of empirical evidence that actually says so—yes, the only one—is the hockey stick. […] And the hockey stick is wrong.” [6]


The PERC website states that “We rely entirely on contributions from foundations, corporations, and private individuals. Currently, 90 percent of our funding comes from foundations, 8 percent from individuals and miscellaneous sources, and 2 percent from corporations.” [7]

The following data has been compiled by the Conservative Transparency project, based on public filings from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Note that not all funding data has been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy. PERC currently runs as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization with EIN 81-0393444.

See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on the Property and Environment Research Center's funding by year (.xlsx).

Donor Name Contribution
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $3,806,500
Earhart Foundation $2,256,271
Sarah Scaife Foundation $2,017,000
Searle Freedom Trust $1,883,000
John M. Olin Foundation $640,775
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $603,600
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $445,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $273,144
Castle Rock Foundation $272,000
The Roe Foundation $250,000
William H. Donner Foundation $229,750
The Carthage Foundation $200,000
DonorsTrust $192,250
Walton Family Foundation $178,700
Chase Foundation of Virginia $151,540
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $150,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $140,000
Exxon Mobil $127,500
The Randolph Foundation $105,000
John William Pope Foundation $105,000
Philip M. McKenna Foundation $75,000
JM Foundation $55,000
Armstrong Foundation $33,500
Robert P. Rotella Foundation $32,500
True Foundation $4,500
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $3,000
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice $1,000
Grand Total $14,231,530

ExxonMobil Funding

According to the ExxonSecrets project, PERC has received at least $155,000 from Exxonmobil since 1998. [8]

Koch Funding

Greenpeace reports that PERC also received at least $368,144 from Koch Foundations between 1997 and 2015: [9]

*Original tax forms prior to 1997 are no longer available for verification. If you include these values, the grand total jumps to $408,144 in Koch funding from 1987 to 2015.

Year Charles Koch Foundation Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation Grand Total
1987* $5,000 $5,000
1989* $5,000 $5,000
1991* $5,000 $5,000
1992* $5,000 $20,000 $25,000
1997 $60,000 $60,000
2003 $14,500 $10,000 $24,500
2004 $20,000 $20,000
2006 $25,000 $25,000
2007 $25,000 $25,000
2009 $38,644 $38,644
2013 $25,000 $25,000
2015 $150,000 $150,000
Grand Total $268,144 $140,000 $408,144

990 Forms

Key People


As of September, 2015: [10]


As of September, 2015[11]

  • Reed Watson — Executive Director
  • Monica Guenther — Senior Director for Program Management
  • Wendy Purnell — Director of Outreach
  • Shawn Regan —  Director of Publications
  • Suzi Berget White — Development Manager
  • KayCee Pulasky — Accountant
  • Colleen Lane — Conference Coordinator
  • Renee Storm — Conference Coordinator
  • Dianna Rienhart — Office Manager
  • Jennifer Keney — Administration and Outreach Coordinator
  • Sharie Rucker — Administrative Assistant
  • Hannah Downey — Research Assistant
  • Scott Wilson — Research and Outreach Assistant


As of September, 2015: [12]

  • Terry Anderson, William A. Dunn Distinguished Senior Fellow — Former President and Executive Director of PERC as well as the John and Jean De Nault Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  • Peter Hill, Senior Fellow
  • Gary Libecap, Senior Fellow
  • Randy Simmons, Senior Fellow
  • Walter Thurman, Senior Fellow
  • Roger Meiners, Senior Fellow
  • Bobby McCormick, Senior Fellow
  • Andrew Morriss, Senior Fellow
  • Daniel Benjamin, Senior Fellow
  • Jonathan Adler, Senior Fellow
  • Jane Shaw, Senior Fellow Emeritus
  • Bruce Yandle, Senior Fellow Emeritus — Mercatus Center Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics at George Mason University
  • Richard Stroup, Senior Fellow Emeritus 
  • Donald Leal, Senior Fellow Emeritus
  • David Haddock, Senior Fellow Emeritus
  • H. Spencer Banzhaf, Senior Research Fellow
  • Kurt Schnier, Senior Research Fellow
  • Dominic Parker, Senior Research Fellow
  • Laura Huggins, Research Fellow — Alsop a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. 
  • Brandon Scarborough, Research Fellow
  • Holly Fretwell, Research Fellow
  • Michael 't Sas-Rolfes, Research Fellow
  • Brian Yablonski, Adjunct Fellow

Past Board Members (2012)

As of November 1, 2012, additional Board Members included: [13]

Staff (2012)

Additional staff members, as of November 1, 2012: [14]


February 22, 2017

During a lecture on environmental policy, an environmental activist confronted Terry Anderson, former President and Executive Director of PERC, regarding a study where he suggested that we shouldn’t expect a warming of 4 degrees Celsius for more than 500 years, noting that Anderson is an economist by training. [29]

According to the activist, Anderson’s reasoning was based on a regression analysis of temperature increases over the past century, projected out into the future: [29]

The reason that climate scientists don’t do that, what must be the reason, is that they don’t think that that way of analyzing it produce step right result. And that’s the consensus of the experts. You seem to be suggesting that people should reject what the scientific community is doing, based on this little regression analysis that you offer in this article. Is that what you’re saying?”  the activist asked. [29]

Anderson responded by suggesting a separation between models and data, implying that the latter is more valuable”: [29]

The climate debate largely centres around, is largely focused on estimates by climate models that predict the 4 degrees Celsius. And those models are created by people who know more about climate than I do, but they are models. The regression referred to by this gentleman was a regression based on data.  [29]

“And all I did, with a couple of friends, was take the data on what’s happened with temperatures and asked the question of ‘what do we know has been happening?’ And the answer is, we know it hasn’t been four degrees.” [29]

Anderson added, “It was simply a matter of me saying, these are the data, and those are the models. Now, I don’t pretend that the data are going to be correct all the way into the future. I didn’t say that in the article. I just said that if we take action based on the data, it’ll be a different kind of action than we take based on models. Now, with that said, I certainly never said ‘don’t worry, be happy, nothing will happen.” [29]

He went on to suggest there is no data to support mass species extinction: [29]

I have said there are no data to suggest that we as human beings are in danger of disappearing from the planet. […] If you look at the models and the predictions of species extinction, for example, those predictions are based on models. You cannot find data to support the predictions of the model. v

[T]here are no data to suggest we are having mass species extinction.”   [29]

I am agnostic about the climate scientists,” Anderson said. “I don’t dismiss it, I simply ask ‘what are the data?’ — the point I made before.” [29]

Facing further questions on how to limit carbon emissions, Anderson said that the only way he could foresee meeting goals et by the UN would be enforcement by a “global government”: [29]

We don’t have a way to measure and monitor global carbon as it’s emitted by individual countries. […]

The enforcement mechanism would have to be some global power taking action to tell those people they can’t emit carbon. Again, if we want to debate if we want a global government doing that, we can debate that at another time. I think that’s a dangerous step to make.” [29]

Anderson concludes, “I think adaptation. I think water markets that reflect the price and value of water will take us a long way to dealing with how climate affects water supplies in the places we live.” [29]

June 30, 2015

The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), which has historically advocated for the privatization of America's national parks, wrote an article in the New York Times Op-Ed “Let's Fix Our National Parks, Not Add More” where the group opposes the creation of new national park spaces. [15]

True conservation is taking care of the land and water you already have, not insatiably acquiring more and hoping it manages itself,” the Op-Ed reads. 

ThinkProgress reports how the Op-Ed also calls for an end to “one of America’s best parks programs,” the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Members of Congress have called to re-authorize and fund the LWCF, however, PERC  and some Republicans in congress are advocating to divert funds to cover maintenance costs while simultaneously cutting the National Park Service's budget. [16]

The PERC's Director of Publications and Research Fellow Shawn Regan wrote a September 24, 2015 article in The Hill pushing for similar reforms to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). [17]

April 11, 2015

Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) Senior Fellow Randy Simmons published an Op-Ed in Newsweek titled “What's the True Cost of Wind Power.” Simmons contends that wind power is a “heavy burden” for US taxpayers. [18]

Media Matters for a America criticized Newsweek  for considering it “full disclosure” to simply note that Simmons has received grants from the U.S. government and a non-profit organization. In the initial publication, Newsweek had also initially failed to mention Simmons's connection to the fossil fuel industry given the Koch and ExxonMobil funding received by PERC. [19]

Newsweek later added an editor's note which reads “Editor's note: The author of this piece, Randy Simmons, is the Charles G. Koch professor of political economy at Utah State University. He's also a senior fellow at the Koch- and ExxonMobil-funded Property and Environment Research Center. These ties to the oil industry weren't originally disclosed in this piece.” 

June 20, 2014

John Batchelor interviewed former PERC president Terry Anderson regarding a study written for the Hoover Institution journal titled “Hot Air on Climate Change.” [20]

According to the event description, “Whether you believe or deny the apocalyptic predictions of the National Climate Assessment, it is unlikely that most of them will come to pass—not because of government-sponsored mitigation, but because of entrepreneurial adaptation.” [21]


PERC released a report titled “The Benefits of Climate Change” which concludes that “the lengthened growing seasons and added precipitation implied by the most widely cited global climate change models will modestly increase agricultural yields and thereby enhance the profitability of American agriculture.”

The authors conclude that “agricultural productivity in the United States is likely to rise slightly (about 4 percent) due to climate change, yielding modest positive economic benefits.” [22]


Kathryn Ratte of PERC spoke at the Annual Independent Petroleum Association of America's committee session to discuss “a more grassroots approach to telling the industry's story in the nation's public schools.” [3]

A poll conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide and paid for by the American Petroleum Institute recommended a general message that emphasize “how petroleum improves the quality of life” and most importantly, “inoculate[s] against opposition messages.” To achieve inoculation, industry “needs to assuage the guilt of Americans concerned about global warming or the dangers of petrochemicals might feel about overusing petroleum products.”

Ratte stated that the problem is that “politically correct environmentalism invaded U.S. public classrooms years ago, and is helping to hold the door shut on your message.” Another problem she lists is that “children resonate with environmental topics.” She recommended tailoring industry materials to all subjects, including language arts to spread the message from all possible angles. In addition, she recommended that industry hold teacher workshops “in resorts or campuses in pleasant surroundings” to get educators to use their materials.

“If it has a corporate logo on it, it is propaganda… You need a foot in the door where somebody else is pushing he door open for you… The people best able to push open the door are non-profit education organizations that teachers already think of as being credible,” Ratte added. [3], [23]

Ratte has also authored curriculums and education materials for PERC designed to promote free market environmentalism in the classroom. For example, this group of lessons published in 2002 (PDF). [24]

PERC continues to offer curriculum materials on their website. [25]

PERC Contact & Location

As of June 2016, the Property and Environment Research Center listed the following contact information on its website: [28]

2048 Analysis Dr Ste A
Bozeman MT 59718
[email protected]

Related Organizations


  1. What is FME,” Property and Environment Research Center.  WebCite URL

  2. About Us,” PERC.  WebCite URL

  3. Get 'Em While They're Young: Oil and Gas Industry to Target School Kids in Re-Focus of PR Campaign,” CLEAR View, March 2, 1999. Archived December 19, 2000. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  4. Claire Moser. “Koch-Backed Group Calls For No More National Parks,” ThinkProgress, July 3, 2015. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL:

  5. Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2003. Archived July 24, 2015. WebCite URL

  6. Matt Ridley. “THE CASE AGAINST THE HOCKEY STICK,” PERC Report, Volume 28, No. 2 (Summer 2010). Archived September 26, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  7. PERC Financials,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL


  9. Property and Environment Research Center (PERC): Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” GreenPeace USA. Archived March 13, 2017. URL

  10. PERC Board,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL 

  11. Staff,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL

  12. Fellows,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL

  13. PERC BOARD,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived November 1, 2012.

  14. Staff Page, PERC. Archived November 1, 2012.

  15. Reed Watson and Scott Wilson. “Let's Fix Our National Parks, Not Add More,” The New York Times, June 30, 2014. WebCite URL

  16. Claire Moser. “Koch-Backed Group Calls For No More National Parks,” ThinkProgress, July 3, 2015. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL

  17. Why the Land and Water Conservation Fund needs to be reformed,” The Hill, September 24, 2015. WebCite URL

  18. Randy Simmons. “What's the True Cost of Wind Power?” Newsweek, April 11, 2015. WebCite URL

  19. Andrew Seifter. “UPDATED: Newsweek Cloaks Koch-Funded Professor's Dirty Energy Agenda,” Media Matters for America, April 13, 2015. Archived September 28, 2015. WebCite URL

  20. Terry Anderson. “Hot Air on Climate Change,” Property and Environment Research Centre, June 12, 2014. Archived September 27, 2015. WebCite URL

  21. Adapting to Climate Change,” Property and Environment Research Centre, June 24, 2014. Archived September 27, 2015.

  22. Daniel Benjamin. “THE BENEFITS OF CLIMATE CHANGE,” PERC Report, Volume 25, No. 3 (Fall 2007). Archived September 26, 2015.

  23. American Oil and Gas Reporter December, 1998.

  24. Donald R. Wentworth and Kathryn Ratté. “FISH TALES,” PERC - The Center for Free Market Environmentalism, 2002. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  25. Curriculum,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL 

  26. Directory,” State Policy Network. Accessed September 18, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. 

  27. Humans Have Time to Adapt to Global Warming,” National Review, May 28, 2015. Republished by PERC. Archived September 26, 2015. WebCite URL

  28. Contact,” Property and Environment Research Center. Archived June 16, 2016. WebCite URL:

  29. 02/22/2017 Ostrom Lecture on Environmental Policy - Terry Anderson: Who Owns the Environment? Lessons from the Legacy of Elinor Ostrom,” Indiana University’s space at Kaltura video platform, February 22, 2017. Uploaded by User David Price. Archived video on file at DeSmog.

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