Thomas Pyle

Thomas Pyle


  • Pyle holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California. [1]


Thomas Pyle is President of both the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA). [2], [3]

Prior to his position at IER, Pyle founded the lobbying firm Pyle Consulting, Inc. Both Pyle and his firm have lobbied for the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (now the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers) and for Koch Industries. [4], [5]

Before his work with Pyle Consulting, Pyle served “a variety of association and corporate clients” while working as vice president of the Rhoads Group in Washington, DC. Pyle started his career on on Capitol Hill where he served as policy analyst for the Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, and as staff director for the Congressional Western Caucus.  [2]

Thomas Pyle has been noted as a figure in the Fueling US Forward campaign orchestrated by Charles Drevna and funded by the Koch Brothers. While Charles Drevna told DeSmog's Sharon Kelly that IER was not involved in Fueling U.S. Forward, Drevna developed the campaign while serving as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at IER. [14]

Before becoming a lobbyist for Koch, Pyle worked with former congress members Tom Delay and Rich Pombo, who both have a record opposing environmental measures in Congress. From 1999 to 2001, Pyle served as Policy Analyst for Tom DeLay, and as a Legislative Aid for Richard Pombo from 1993 to 1997, according to [29], [30][24]

Stance on Climate Change

Pyle doesn't comment publicly on the science of climate change, but often talks about the perceived costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Institute for Energy Research has listed its position on climate change as follows: [6]

That human activity has increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2, a gas known to 'force' climate or increase temperatures while the Earth has warmed about 0.6 Degrees Celsius over the last one hundred years is generally accepted. How the climate works and the relationship of different variables remains to be determined.” 

Donald Trump's Energy Transition Team

In December, 2016, Thomas Pyle was chosen to head Donald Trump's energy transition team after Mike McKenna stepped down. Pyle's history of lobbying for the oil and gas industry seems to run counter to the “drain the swamp” strategy declared by Trump. Pyle also has a history of opposing renewable energy, describing subsidies for renewables as “perpetuating a cycle of dependency where politicians feed money to industries that then instruct their lobbyists to support those same politicians.” [25]

Thomas Pyle had sent a memo (see full .pdf)obtained and published by the Center for Media and Democracy—to a private email list just before the Trump team announced his placement on the team. Pyle's email outlined “The Trump Administration's Energy Plan,” and included 14 policy proposals such as: [26], [27], [28]

  • Withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Climate agreement;
  • Increasing federal oil and natural gas leasing;
  • Lifting the coal lease moratorium;
  • Eliminating the Clean Power Plan;
  • Expediting approvals of LNG export terminals;
  • Moving forward with pipeline projects including the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline;
  • Rolling back federal fuel economy standards;
  • Ending the use of the social cost of carbon in agency rulemaking; and
  • Reconsidering the “endangerment finding” that found greenhouse gases to be a threat to public health and welfare.

Key Quotes

September 10, 2018

Tom Pyle spoke with Boomberg, with reference to a potential carbon tax: [45]

“The whole notion that there’s going to be some grand bargain with respect to regulations is a pipe dream. The EPA is not going to remain in the hands of Donald Trump forever. You can’t bind future congresses to some kind of no-regulation deal.

“You can dress it up and put fancy clothes on it, but it’s still a massive tax on American motorists and families, which will hit the poorest among us the hardest no matter what they claim they can do to make them whole,” Pyle said.

June 2, 2016

“I was pleased with the overall direction that Mr. Trump wants to go with respect to energy policy. It's mainstream, it's main street, and makes a lot of sense.” [7]

September, 2015

Obama’s carbon regulation is a national energy tax that will burden Michiganders, especially the poor, with higher energy prices and fewer jobs, yet will have no impact on climate change.”  [8]

August, 2015

It’s important to remember that President Obama’s carbon regulation, the crown jewel of his climate legacy, has no impact on climate change. EPA’s own models show that their carbon rule will limit global temperature rise by a mere 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100. That’s a bad deal for the American people. State leaders should protect their citizens from Obama’s costly carbon rule by refusing to submit a plan.” [9]

May 22, 2013

Criticizing the documentary “Gasland Part II” which examines the effects of fracking on groundwater in the U.S., Pyle writes the following in Breitbart: [10]

“[Josh] Fox and other anti-energy activists fail to understand that affordable energy is the lifeblood of America’s economy. Over the coming years, the extent to which we harness our vast domestic energy resources will determine our economic destiny. Oil and natural gas hold the key to economic revitalization and North American energy independence. To oppose natural gas is to stand against prosperity.”

Key Deeds

July 18, 2018

Thomas Pyle, representing the American Energy Alliance, was among signatories of a letter supporting an anti-carbon tax resolution from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va. [42]

“We oppose any carbon tax. We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” the letter read. “We support the House Concurrent Resolution in opposition to a job-killing carbon tax and urge members to co-sponsor and support this effort.” [42]

The resolution would call a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy.”E&E News reported it was similar to a measure that passed the House in 2016. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, co-chairman of the Climate Solutions Caucus, said he would not vote for the resolution. [43]

“Protecting our environment and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” he said in a statement. “The resolution presents a false choice.”

The Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the measure when it was first introduced. [44]

May 10, 2018

Thomas Pyle, representing the Institute for Energy Research, was one of three signatories of an open letter to Donald Trump requesting that he follow through on a major rollback of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the auto industry. [40]

The open letter was sent amid concerns from the the auto industry that the rollback could result in a “regulatory nightmare,” with potentially years of litigation from California and a lack of regulatory certainty. Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co., said at the company's annual meeting, “We are not asking the administration for a rollback.”  He said, “We want California at the table, and we want one national standard.” [41]

Despite this, presidential transition team members Pyle, Myron Ebell, and Shirley Ybarra pleaded with Trump, saying “You should dismiss this concern.” The letter continues: “We agree that in an ideal world, California would negotiate with you in good faith, but we all know that is not a reality in this current political climate.” Signatories also the existing mandate would mean “those consumers who prefer trucks, SUVs, or crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles.” [41]

“These significant increases in the average price of a car or truck are a very real regressive tax on American families that make consumers poorer and the economy weaker,” Pyle, Ebell, and Ybarra wrote. [41]

April 23, 2018

Thomas Pyle, representing the American Energy Alliance, was among 22 groups signed on to an open letter asking President Trump to ignore recent criticism of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. [38]

In a speech to the U.S. Senate, a group of Democratic senators identified the organizations as front groups for the Koch Brothers and other wealthy donors, nicknamed the “Web of Deceit.” The senators outlined how, in addition to funding from the Koch network, many of the groups use untraceable “dark money” funneled through groups like Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust to influence legislation, particularly with regards to climate and pollution.

Senator Whitehouse outlined it as “a web of deceit conceived and bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other self-interested billionaires to advocate for very selfish and unpatriotic policies.” Whitehouse added: “This web of deceit has infiltrated and populated the Trump administration, and it is swamping the interests of everyday Americans. [39]

The full list of pro-Pruitt signatories and their respective organizations is as follows:

September 21, 2017

Thomas Pyle spoke at the American Conservative Union Foundation's (ACU“West Virginia on the Rise” conference in Charleston, WV. The event included keynote presentations from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-2), WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and others. Pyle was scheduled to speak on the first panel, titled “rebuilding the economy.” [37]

June 2, 2017

Speaking with Breitbart News Daily host Joel Pollak, Pyle described the scrapping of the Paris Climate Agreement as “one of the single-most important decisions President Trump has made.” Pyle and the Institute of Energy Research supported US withdrawal from the deal. [36]

“The biggest tragedy in all of this is the Obama administration spent billions and billions of our taxpayer money subsidizing, picking sources of energy and making bets of specific sources of energy. There’s a role for the federal government, it ought to be in basic R and D, funding those types of things that could lead to those breakthroughs. And then let the Bill Gates’s of the world, let the investor class, the people who have the resources to place bets on some of these technologies,” Pyle said. Listen to the audio below. [36]

June 1, 2017

According to Politico, Pyle was among those who were invited to the Rose Garden event where Donald Trump would go on to announce the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.  Other “ardent foes” of the accord who were invited to the event included Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and several representatives from the Heritage Foundation. [35]

May 8, 2017

Thomas J. Pyle, representing AEA, is a signatory to an open letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him “to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.” [32]

DeSmog reported that the 40 groups represented in the letter, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, have received a combined total of millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, and other industry groups. [33]

Analysis also showed that the groups accepted about $80 million through Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust, two groups that have been confirmed is a key financial source for key U.S-based cliamate change denial groups. [34]

January 12, 2017

Thomas Pyle was a signatory to a January 12, 2017 official letter of support (PDF) for Scott Pruitt, in which numerous groups, including The Heartland Institute, American Energy Alliance (AEA), and others, declared that the Senate should “swiftly approve his nomination” for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other signatories of the letter included: [31]

May 27, 2016

Thomas Pyle, representing the American Energy Alliance (AEA), went on the Marc Cox Show on Fox News Radio to discuss Donald Trump's energy speech on May 26. [11]

Pyle described Trump's speech as a “breath of fresh air” and a “well-written, well-thought-out approach for how any administration should manage energy.” [11]

“Why would any president advocate shutting down Coal Power Plants in this country?” Pyle asks. Audio below. [11]

November 13, 2015

Thomas Pyle wrote a column in the Lincoln Journal Star titled “Support affordable energy by ending corporate welfare” where he argues against renewing the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC):

“Enough is enough. Wind advocates have claimed for decades they wouldn’t need handouts within a few more years, claims that have proven wrong time and again. Wind’s recent history illustrates this reality. When the PTC is active – aka, when the tax spigot is open – new wind installations soar. When it’s temporarily expired and no more tax dollars are available, installations plummet,” Pyle writes. [12]

In a responding column, author Dan McGuire notes that fossil fuel subsidies dwarf wind energy incentives. [13]

“It’s ironic, if not downright hypocritical, for Mr. Pyle to complain about the wind production tax credit,” McGuire writes. “According to the U. S Treasury Mid-Session Review of the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2015 the U. S. government provides eleven permanent federal fossil fuel production tax provisions with a 10-year nominal annual revenue average cost of $4.7 billion or nearly $38 billion since 2008, the same time period that Mr. Pyle complains about the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) costing $7.3 billion. Those fossil fuel production subsidies cost U.S. taxpayers 8 times more than the wind PTC during that same period”

September 1, 2015

Thomas Pyle, in his capacity as Institute for Energy Research President, issued a statement criticizing Michigan's Governor Richard Dale Snyder for his plan to implement EPA carbon regulations: [8]

The Snyder administration’s decision to wave the white flag and implement EPA’s carbon regulation is bad news for Michigan families. The governor claims this approach ‘retains control’ for Michigan, yet the opposite is true. Implementing this regulation, when serious legal challenges persist, effectively hands over the keys to Michigan’s energy future to unelected bureaucrats in Washington. Once Gov. Snyder signs away Michigan’s control over its energy future to Obama’s EPA, there is no turning back.

Obama and EPA want states to think their only choices are to submit a state plan or have a federal plan imposed on them. Gov. Snyder has apparently fallen for this false choice. The real choice is between shielding Michigan from this harmful carbon regulation or helping President Obama carry it across the finish line as the sun sets on his presidency.

Obama’s carbon regulation is a national energy tax that will burden Michiganders, especially the poor, with higher energy prices and fewer jobs, yet will have no impact on climate change. Michigan voters made clear their stance on higher energy taxes when they overwhelmingly rejected Governor Snyder’s gas tax proposal earlier this year. The governor should listen to the citizens in his state and join the ranks of several of his fellow governors by rejecting the Obama administration’s carbon regulation.”

August 17, 2015

Thomas Pyle issued a statement on the approval of Shell's permit to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean: [15] 

The approval of this permit is a huge victory for the American people. After fulfilling all of the requirements and investing $7 billion, Shell is finally able to begin the process of exploring these areas for vast oil resources that could make America stronger. But this is about more than finding oil. This is about investing in America’s future. The resources that lie in the Arctic will boost our energy security and ensure that American families have access to affordable energy for generations and generations to come. Americans of good will wish them luck in their search.”

August 6, 2015

Thomas Pyle published an article in Medium responding to a previous post by EPA Chief Gina McCarthy “with his own six reasons as to why states and the American people should be wary of entrusting EPA with their energy futures.” [16]

Pyle contends in his article that the EPA's power plan, which he entitles a “carbon agenda” will have “no impact on climate change,” will “[hurt] Americans' health,” “relies on threats and bribes,” and “was written by the environmental lobby,” among other criticisms. [17] 

August 3, 2015

Thomas Pyle issued a statement criticizing President Obama's Clean Power Plan: [9]

The final version of President Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ is somehow more harmful than the proposed rule. It forces states to make even steeper cuts, it guts natural gas in favor of costly renewables, and it still has no effect on climate change. While the EPA touts these adjustments to the rule as a sign of ‘flexibility’, it’s really an admission that Obama needs states to do his dirty work. But state leaders shouldn’t give in to the administration’s bribery schemes. Regardless of these cosmetic changes to the rule, the fundamental flaws remain.

It’s important to remember that President Obama’s carbon regulation, the crown jewel of his climate legacy, has no impact on climate change. EPA’s own models show that their carbon rule will limit global temperature rise by a mere 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100. That’s a bad deal for the American people. State leaders should protect their citizens from Obama’s costly carbon rule by refusing to submit a plan.”

June 30, 2015

The Institute for Energy Research published a study titled “The Levelized Cost of Electricity from Existing Generation Resources” (PDF) authored by Thomas F. Stacy and George S. Taylor. Thomas Pyle writes in the Wall Street Journal that the study concludes that  “scrapping the existing coal fleet to build new generators would impose expensive and unnecessary costs—and the public would foot the bill.”  [18], [19]

November 21, 2014

IER President Thomas Pyle published an op-ed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal titled “It's time for wind tax credit to get blown away”: [20]

One of the central building blocks of the EPA’s power plant rule is increased use of wind and solar for electricity generation. But wind and solar are uncompetitive without massive taxpayer subsidies and mandated renewable portfolio standards. For wind, that takes the form of the production tax credit. […]

Congress should reject any attempt by [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid to revive the wind production tax credit in the lame-duck session. It’s clearly a bad deal for Nevadans, enriching out-of-state billionaires at the expense of working families.” [20]

September, 2014

The Checks and Balances project reports that the American Energy Alliance and its President Thomas J. Pyle released a poll that they contend was made to “deliberately deceive the public by forgetting about 150 years of subsidies paid to the oil, gas, and coal industries.” [21]

According to Checks and Balances, the poll's questions were “carefully written to manufacture public opposition to tax credits that would spur the growth of the wind energy industry, as well as the EPA’s proposal to cut carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.”

The federal government has been giving special treatment to green energy for decades either directly through handouts like the wind [Production Tax Credit] or indirectly through red tape like EPA’s proposed power plant rule,” Pyle wrote in an email to The Hill.

The poll was conducted by MWR Strategies, a company that also lobbies for the fossil fuel industry. According to, MWR Strategies was paid $470K from Koch; $570 from American Electric Power, and $770K from Southern Company. [22]

September 4, 2012

Thomas Pyle released a statement following the speech by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC discussing Obama's energy policies: [23]

“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention was an impressive example of rhetorical charades, bestowing credit upon President Obama for the bright horizon of America’s energy future despite the administration’s relentless, take-no-prisoners assault on affordable domestic coal, oil, and natural gas.”

Pyle targets electric vehicles, calling them “neither affordable nor efficient for the overwhelming majority of consumers who commute for work.”

Affiliations describes the “revolving door” of Thomas Pyle's employment history: [24]


Some sample publications below:


  1. Tom Pyle Bio” (PDF), Institute for Energy Research. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  2. Thomas J. Pyle: President,” Institute for Energy Research. Archived October 19, 2016. URL:

  3. Thomas Pyle: President,” American Energy Alliance. Archived October 19, 2016. URL

  4. Pyle Consulting,” Accessed October 19, 2016.

  5. Pyle, Thomas J,” Accessed October 19, 2016.

  6. Influencing The Debate,” Institute for Energy Research. Archived August 28, 2015.

  7. Tom Pyle responds to Donald Trump's energy speech,” YouTube video uploaded by user IERDC, June 2, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  8. Gov. Snyder Surrenders to Obama’s EPA,” Energy Townhall (AEA Publication), September 1, 2015. Archived May 21, 2015. URL:

  9. (Press Release). “Obama’s Carbon Rule Still a Bad Deal for Americans,” Energy Townhall (AEA Publication), July 3, 2015. Archived May 21, 2016. URL:

  10. Thomas J. Pyle. “Anti-Fracking Documentary 'Gasland Part II; Gets It Wrong … Again,” Breitbart, May 22, 2013. Archived October 19, 2016. URL

  11. Thomas Pyle 5-27-16,” YouTube Video uploaded by user FM NewsTalk 97.1 - Fox News Radio - St. Louis, MO, May 27, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  12. Thomas J. Pyle. “Column: Support affordable energy by ending corporate welfare,” Lincoln Journal Star, November 13, 2015. URL:

  13. Dan McGuire. “Local View: Fossil fuel subsidies dwarf wind energy incentives,” Lincoln Journal Star, November 18, 2015. URL

  14. Charles T. Drevna Joins IER,” Institute for Energy Research, May 26, 2015. Archived October 18, 2016. URL:

  15. Shell’s Permit to Drill is a Victory for American Energy Security,” Institute for Energy Research, August 17, 2015. Archived May 23, 2016. URL:

  16. Six Things Every American Should Really Know About EPA’s Carbon Agenda,” Energy Townhall (AEA Publication), July 12, 2015. Archived May 21, 2016. URL:

  17. Tom Pyle. “Six Things Every American Should Really Know About EPA’s Carbon Agenda,” Medium, August 6, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  18. The Levelized Cost of Electricity from Existing Generation Resources” (PDF), Institute for Energy Research, June 2015. Archived August 30, 2015.

  19. Thomas Pyle. “The Price Tag For Uprooting America’s Electric Grid,” The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2015.

  20. ICYMI: It’s Time for the Wind PTC to Blow Away,” Energy Townhall, November 21, 2014.

  21. Fossil Fuel Front Groups’ Flawed Poll Ignores Century of Fossil Fuel Welfare,” Checks & Balances Project, September 10, 2014. URL:

  22. MWR Strategies,” Accessed October 19, 2016.

  23. (Press Release). “IER Responds to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's DNC Speech,” Institute for Energy Research, September 4, 2012. Archived October 19, 2016. URL:

  24. Pyle, Thomas J,” Archived October 19, 2016. URL:

  25. Julian Spector. “Trump Energy Team Swaps Out Its Transition Team Leader,” Green Tech Media, December 1, 2016.  Archived December 7, 2016. URL:

  26. Pyle-What-to-Expect-From-the-Trump-Administration.pdf” From the Desk of Thomas Pyle. Retrieved from Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  27. Nick Surgey. “REVEALED: THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ENERGY PLAN,” The Center for Media and Democracy, December 4, 2016. URL:

  28. Ben Jervey. “Trump Energy Agenda Revealed in Thomas Pyle Memo,” DeSmog, December 7, 2016.

  29. Tom DeLay on Environment,” OnThe Issues. Archived January 2, 2017. URL:

  30. Richard Pombo on Environment,” OnThe Issues. Archived January 2, 2017. URL:

  31. “Dear Senators,” (PDF)Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 12, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  32. “Dear Mr. President” (PDF), retrieved from Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  33. Graham Readfearn. “Conservative Groups Pushing Trump To Exit Paris Climate Deal Have Taken Millions From Koch Brothers, Exxon,” DeSmog, May 10, 2017.

  34. Susanne Goldberg. “Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change,” The Guardian, December 20, 2013. Archived May 12, 2017. URL

  35. Eric Wolff and Darius Dixon. “Paris deal foes to attend Trump's climate announcement,” Politico, June 1, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. URL:

  36. Dan Riehl. “Thomas Pyle: Scrapping Paris Deal ‘One of the Single-Most Important Decisions’ Trump Has Made,” Breitbart, June 2, 2017. Archived July 13, 2017. URL:


  38. “Coalition letter to the President on Scott Pruitt,” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived .pdf on file with DeSmogBlog.

  39. Senator Whitehouse. “Time to wake up: Web of Deceit” April 23, 2018. URL

  40. “Dear Mr. President” (PDF), Institute for Energy Research, May 10, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

  41. Ben Jervey. “On Rollbacks, Automakers Tell Trump 'Not So Fast,' Kochs Say 'Burn More Gas',”DeSmog, May 14, 2018.

  42. 41 Conservative Groups Support Scalise/McKinley Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution,” Americans for Tax Reform, July 18, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  43. Nick Sobczyk. “House voting on anti-carbon-tax measure: 'Pass the popcorn',” E&E News, July 16, 2018. Archived Aug 2, 2018. URL:

  44. Teaching opportunities from House Concurrent Resolution 119 (H.Con.Res.119)” (PDF), Citizens' Climate Lobby, April 30, 2018.

  45. Jennifer A Dlouhy. “Yellen Touts Carbon Tax as ‘Textbook Solution’ to Climate Change,” Bloomberg, September 10, 2018. Archived September 14, 2018. Archive URL

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