Todd Wynn

Todd Wynn

Credentials

  • M.A., International and Developmental Economics, University of San Francisco (2008). [1], [20]
  • B.A., Business Economics, California State University (2006). [1][20]
  • Majored in Business Economics at the Virginia Military Institute (2004). [20]

Background

Todd Wynn is the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior, where he started in October 2017[15], [19]

From 2011 to 2013, Wynn oversaw the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He then went to serve as the Director of External Affairs for the Edison Electrical Institute (EEI), an ALEC member that pays to engage in the same task force Wynn prevously headed. [15], [27]

In July 2008, he became a policy analyst at the Cascade Policy Institute where he conducted “climate change and energy policy research.” He was promoted to Vice President of the Institute in 2010 but left in 2011. [15]

Todd Wynn & ALEC

According to the Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch, while Wynn worked at ALEC from September 2011 to September 2013, the Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force passed several anti-environmental bills including “The Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act”, a “Resolution in Support of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” a “Resolution Supporting A Reasonable Compliance Timeline and Economy-Wide Impact Study of EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Rule,” a “Resolution in Support of REINS Act”—a bill pushed for years by the Koch-funded front group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP)—and a “Resolution in Opposition to a Carbon Tax.” [21]

“Wynn’s long history working with polluting industries and right-wing groups makes him a natural conduit between those groups and DOI. He is part of a pattern of DOI staffing positions with veterans of the fossil fuel industry,” the Energy and Policy Institute reported when Wynn joined DOI in 2017. [32]

Stance on Climate Change

June 30, 2010

Wynn went on Populations TV to discuss “the BP oil spill, energy policy, climate change, and other environment topics.” Note that the video no longer available online.

“It's absolutely ridiculous to say that they know that human activity is the major part of that [climate change]. We've had a temperature record a very spurious one for the maybe past 100 years, in the last 30 years a satellite temperature record. And then all the calculations for the predictions of the future are based on models […] we've already seen that they're way off on their predictions.” [2]

June 22, 2009

Wynn wrote “the earth is currently cooling” in a 2009 piece at the Oregon Catalyst. [33]

“It is hard to advocate for overbearing regulations that attempt to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions when global temperatures have been stable or declining. In fact, in at least the last seven years, global temperatures have declined, despite increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Wynn wrote.

Key Quotes

November 1, 2012

Quoted at MasterResource, Wynn described renewable energy mandates as “crony capitalist policies”: [40]

“Households in 29 states are and will continue to see higher electricity rates, lower economic growth and, subsequently, lower standard of livings without outright repeal of these crony capitalist policies,” Wynn said.

2011

In a renewable energy talk at the Cascade Policy Institute, Wynn said he didn't believe carbon dioxdide was a “real pollutant”: [39]

 

March 22, 2011

Unfortunately, renewable energy costs more than traditional energy sources and is often less reliable,” Wynn wrote in 2011 for the Cascade Policy Institute. “Although generating energy from wind turbines and solar panels is essentially free, the costs of construction, maintenance and integrating inconsistent energy into the grid are prohibitively expensive.” [24]

March 13, 2010

Wynn was quoted in a KATU news article about the so-called “dirty secret” of wind power:

“Wind does not reduce carbon emissions but instead creates them.” [4]

April 2009

Wynn spoke at the Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change in 2009:

“A lot of people like to say well Todd, you are in the hands of big oil or you’re an anti-environmentalist, but I consider myself an environmentalist of all sorts, I care about the beach, I care about the successful evolution of humankind and the planet. But the truth is you have to focus on environmental goals that are achievable cost effective and have a measurable benefit and if the cost outweigh the benefits it doesn't make sense to charge ahead on an emotional and heart tugging issue like saving the planet.”

“Actual climate change in my part of the country, there's not much, 1 degree Fahrenheit in the last few years.” [3]

2009

Wynn partcipated in the “Climate Chains” documentary, where he declared (emphasis added): 

Climate change is a perfect scapegoat for environmentalists. They can use that to change the behavior, the lifestyle, and the standard of living of every single citizen on the planet. We also have to look at the benefits of higher global temperatures, a lot of places that weren’t arable land before are now going to be. And I think that’s important, that you need to weigh those costs and benefits. I think that global warming could be a net benefit for the planet in fact.” [5]

January 29, 2009

At the Cascade Policy Institute, Wynn claimed “proposals in the Oregon Legislature to implement a Cap-and-Trade system would have no effect on global warming.” [37]

Key Deeds

June 15, 2018

HuffPost, having obtained a copy of Wynn's resume, reported that Wynn's recent actions had the potential to violate the ethics pledge Wynn had signed on October 16. The pledge prohibits political appointees in the executive branch from participating “in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to [one’s] former employer or former clients.” [28][20], [29]

According to a copy of Wynn's calendar obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, on October 27 he planned on attending a 30-minute call with Jennifer Butler, a senior policy adviser at the ALEC-linked State Policy Network. He had also scheduled a call with Grant Kidwell, ALEC's current director of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force , on December 19. A spokeswoman for ALEC denied the meeting ever occurred. [28]

Wynn's CV also notes he was previously a committee member of the Exxon-funded Council of State Governments from 2015 until joining the Interior Department in 2017. According to his schedule, Wynn had also scheduled a call with Rich Lindsay, the head of the Council's energy and environment committee. [28][20], [30]

Interior department spokeswoman Vander Voort responded to HuffPost, claiming the ALEC and affiliate meetings did not conflict with the ethics pledge as Wynn's employment at the organization ended more than two years before he joined the agency. She did not respond to questions about Wynn’s continued work with ALEC through the Edison Electric Institute or his role at the Council of State Governments. [28]

The scheduled calls appear to violate the “government-wide regulatory standards of conduct” that “bar [Wynn] from meeting personally with any former client or employer he served in the year prior to the meeting,” Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, said in an email to HuffPost[28]

November 9, 2017

Todd Wynn attended the Heartland Institute's “America First Energy Conference“ at the Marriott Hotel in Houston, Texas. Vincent DeVito gave a shout out to Wynn in the audience around two minutes into his speech. [16]

Listed speakers included current and former industry representatives such as Heath Lovell, VP of Public Policy for Alliance Coal, former Peabody Energy senior VP Fred Palmer; high-profile climate science deniers and regular ICCC speakers like Jim Inhofe (who, while not there in person, gave a video address to the conference), Craig Idso, and Joe Bast; and former Trump Transition team members Myron Ebell and David Schnare. [17]

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt gave a video address to the conference, saying “we want to celebrate what's been going on this last year with respect to the changes that have taken place in Washington D.C.” He goes on to list off the “tremendous change with respect to regulatory reform.” [18]

October 2, 2017

Todd Wynn, in his capacity as the Edison Electric Institute’s Director of External Affairs, spoke at a “Energy/Environment Leadership Summit” in October 2, 2016. Utility Secrets obtained the audio recording, in which Wynn asks State Policy Network (SPN) members at the event to “get involved” in advocating with Public Utility Commissions to support policies that would kill rooftop solar growth and tax consumers. The annual event is organized by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy and takes place alongside the SPN's annual meeting. [25]

“So, State Policy Network, all the state-focused groups, sometimes we’re here and we’re talking about federal energy policy, which you guys should certainly have an impact on. It’s important to learn about and also important to focus on. This is one of those issues that’s happening in your state, every decision is at the state level, and may be in an area that you may have not engaged in the past with the public utility commissions, but I urge you to get involved in those. Public Utility Commissions, Service Commissions, Corporation Commissions, whatever they happened to be called in your state – there’s a lot of power there and they make some pretty significant decisions that right now, I don’t think a free-market think tank has engaged as deeply as the political Left, the environmental groups have,” Wynn said. [25]

Utility Secrets reported that Wynn explicitly asked SPN for help on two policies: fixed charges, and net metering. [25]

July 2015

The Washington Post reported Wynn spoke at an ALEC conference, where he told legislators that they should begin complying with Clean Power Plan regulations even while they were persuing lawsuits to block it: [26]

Our folks think that submitting a [compliance] plan is a good way to go for a couple of reasons,”Wynn told the group, according to notes from the meeting. “For one thing, it doesn’t ruin your standing as far as litigation is concerned.” 

December 2014

Wynn spoke at the winter “policy summit” of the American City County Exchange (ACCE), an offshoot of of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch reported Wynn briefed the audience on what EEI member utilities considred threats: net metering and municipalization of distribution systems for green energy. [31]

“Wynn was explicit in describing how a local elected official’s relationship with a utility company can be a 'you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours' situation” PR Watch reported. “'Engage and get to know your local electric utility. Those guys are really great,” Wynn said. “They can be awesome assets for you. They can help you out with your races at some point in time as well, which is always positive.'” [31]

July 5, 2013

While working at ALEC, Wynn co-wrote an article titled, “EPA Growth Knows No Limits,” comparing then-President Barack Obama to a “king” for using an executive agency to implement the Clean Power Plan. [22]

Simply put, the president is using Congressional inaction as a pretext for a climate policy power grab, and that is very troubling,” Wynn wrote with his co-author William Yeatman. Yeatman works as an energy policy analyst for the corporate-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute. “During President Obama’s first term, however, the EPA initiated an outright regulatory assault on the American standard of living,” they claimed. [22]

Wynn also commissioned Yeatman to write a report titled “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Assault on State Sovereignty.” [23] 

Congress intended for states to be first among equals in this federalist arrangement,” the report read. It further posited that “the EPA is replacing cooperative federalism with command and control.”

June 6, 2013

Wynn praised Utah's HB 148, a bill designed to bring public lands under state control. HB 148 was one of ALEC's “model bills” handed out to legislators. [34], [35]

“In 2014, expect more states to press this issue both in the East and the West as state legislators are likely to continue to work together through ALEC and other organizations in order to gain back their land,” Wynn wrote at ALEC

“Wynn is claiming that America’s parks and public lands should rightly be under the control of state legislators, not the American people. This is the language used by land seizure advocates like the American Lands Council, whose founder, Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, was the primary sponsor of Utah’s HB 148,” wrote the Center for Western Priorities, a watchdog group focused on national parks, monuments, public lands, and energy in the American West. [36]

May 21 – 23, 2012

Wynn was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 7th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [6]

DeSmogBlog researched co-sponsors behind the conference and discovered that they had received a total of over $67 Million from ExxonMobil, Koch, and Scaife family foundations.

Wynn's speech, titled “Regulation without Representation: How the EPA has become a political tool” can be viewed below. 

March 2012

ALEC has been in favor of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Todd Wynn writes how “ALEC has been at the forefront of the effort to retain state sovereignty over hydraulic fracturing, and our recently adopted model bill, the Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Composition Act, aims to preempt the promulgation of duplicative, burdensome federal regulations from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” He describes federal regulations on natural gas as “duplicative and unnecessary.” [7]

DeSmogBlog has also done an in-depth investigation on the environmental impacts of fracking in the Fracking the Future report, and found that the potentially devastating impacts from unconventional gas development on water supplies, air quality and the global climate deserve much greater study and scrutiny.

Industry lobbying and misinformation campaigns like some of the work by the American Legislative Exchange Council have confused the public and made it more difficult to gauge the actual impacts of fracking.

May 2010

Wynn was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4). [8] Desmog has done an in-depth investigation into the sponsors of the conference and found that 19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) have received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil, and/or Koch Industries family foundations and/or the Scaife family foundations.

Wynn's speech, titled “Economic Freedom: a No-Regrets Strategy for Reducing Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions” can be viewed below. 

March 8 - 10, 2009

Wynn attended the Heartland Institute's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York. [9]

February 24, 2009

Wynn made a video called “Karma Neutral Offsets” to make fun of the concept of carbon neutral offsets. [38]

We got this idea from those guys who sell carbon offsets […] Picture this, you commit a bad deed, like robbing someone for money or stealing a car […] then, to offset, and equal out the bad karma produced by your bad deed, a Karma Neutral employee, or someone paid by Karma Neutral, will do a good deed to offset your bad karma, in the form of a certificate to the good karma we produced.”

2009

Wynn participated in in the Cascade Policy Institute video “Climate Chains” along with other climate change skeptics including Kenneth Green, Chris Horner, Marlo Lewis, and Patrick Michaels.

The video claims that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and prosperity in America is climate change legislation.” The video was organized by the Cascade Policy Institute. [10]

The video can be viewed below.

Climate Chains from Climate Chains on Vimeo.

2007 – 2010

Wynn was listed as the Program Director for the “Carbon Cartel Education Project” by the Cascade Policy Institute.

The project contends that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and economic prosperity in America today is climate change legislation,” the exact words used by the Cascade Policy Institute's “Climate Chains” video.

It describes its goal as to “raise awareness of the costs and implications of policies based on global warming alarmism by conducting a multi-faceted campaign to peel away grassroots political support for carbon restrictions, while simultaneously promoting market-based policies that preserve individual liberty, economic opportunity, and environmental quality.” [11]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Todd Wynn regularly publishes articles on behalf of the American Legislative Exchange Council at their publication American Legislator.

Many of his articles are critical of government regulation in any form and he often criticizes actions by the EPA.

According to his profile at the Cascade Policy Institute, he has been published in newspapers including the Oregonian, The Statesman Journal, Roseburg Beacon, Cascade Business News, Tigard/Tualatin Times, Beaverton Valley Times, Northwest Connections, Central Oregonian and many others.

He has also appeared on TV and radio programs such as Fox News, KGW, The Jeff Kropf Show, Lars Larson Show, Bill Post Show, and the Victoria Taft Show.

Resources

  1. Todd Wynn: Former analyst covering the Environment,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived April 23, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/MaPgc

  2. Todd Wynn discussing energy and the climate on Populations TV,” (At 15:40), Vimeo Video uploaded by Cascade Policy. Video no longer available online.

  3. International Climate Change Conf. - Part 1 (Todd Wynn),” YouTube video uploaded by user “GrassrootHawaii” on April 1, 2009. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  4. Anita Kissée and KATU.com Staff. “Wind power’s dirty secret? Its carbon footprint,” KATU.com, March 12, 2010. Archived March 14, 2013. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/t6orf

  5. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Todd Wynn.

  6. “Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, Program,” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived January 10, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/JyfxI

  7. Todd Wynn. “ALEC Encourages Responsible Resource Production,” American Legislator, March 1, 2012. Archived February 18, 2013. Archive.is URLhttp://archive.is/tcdeb

  8. “Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, Program,” (PDF) Heartland Institute, November 2016.

  9. International Climate Change Conf. - Part 1 (Todd Wynn),” YouTube video uploaded by user “Grassroothawaii,” April 1, 2009. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

  10. About the Experts,” Climate Chains. Archived April 1, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/30PB3

  11. Carbon Cartel Education Project,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived April 26, 2011. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/sdMfo

  12. Energy, Environment, and Agriculture,” American Legislative Exchange Council. Archived May 10, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/DFhTV

  13. Fellows & Advisors,” American Tradition Institute. Archived February 7, 2013. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.li/kEv1n

  14.  “Todd Wynn on Climate Change & Free Market Environmentalism,” The Motorhome Diaries, November 2, 2009. Archived Febrary 6, 2011. Archive. is URLhttps://archive.li/LX7qF

  15. Wynn, Todd.” Linkedin.  Accessed October 18, 2017. Archived .pdf file on DeSmog. 

  16. Vincent DeVito, Dinner Keynote, AFEC,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Heartland Institute,” December 2, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  17. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference. Archived November 20, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/3Trix

  18. Scott Pruitt,” America First Energy ConferenceArchived November 20, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/X4F6m

  19. Steve Horn. “Former Head of Energy, Environment at ALEC, Todd Wynn, Hired by Trump Interior Department,” DeSmog, October 18, 2017.

  20. Todd Wynn CV,” Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

  21. ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force,” SourceWatch. Accessed June 21, 2018.

  22. Todd Wynn and William Yeatman. “EPA Growth Knows No Limits,” The American Spectator, July 5, 2013. Archived June 21, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/lNyew

  23. William Yeatman. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Assault on State Sovereignty,” ALEC, 2013.

  24. Todd Wynn. “Oops! Renewable Energy Costs Oregon Billions,” Cascade Policy Institute, March 22, 2011. Archived June 21, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/zVP29

  25. David Pomerantz. “Audio: Edison Electric Institute ‎Director of External Affairs Enlists Third-Parties To Help Attack Rooftop Solar,” Utility Secrets, March 8, 2017. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog. Archived June 21, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/Ix5JX

  26. Foes of clean-air rule plan multiple-front battle,” Washington Post, August 3, 2015. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/mKUPV

  27. Connor Gibson. “Greenpeace Confirms: Six Utilities Quietly Dumped ALEC,” Greenpeace USA, May 1, 2014. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/QQ2dZ

  28. Yet Another Top Interior Department Official Seems To Have An Ethics Problem,” HuffPost, June 15, 2018. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/XPaLo

  29. Ethics Documents DOI,” Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

  30. Council of State Governments,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed June 21, 2018.

  31. Undercover at ACCE: ALEC Offshoot Spins City and County Officials on Dirty Energy, Local Control,” PR Watch, February 23, 2015.

  32. Todd Wynn, operative for electric utilities and climate denier, the latest industry hire at Department of the Interior,” Energy and Policy Institute, October 19, 2017.

  33. Todd Wynn. “GLOBAL WARMING? NO! IT IS NOW CALLED CLIMATE CHANGE,” Oregon Catalyst, June 22, 2009. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/aO9Cb

  34. Todd Wynn. “Nevada Becomes the 5th Western State to Explore the Transfer of Public Lands,” ALEC, June 6, 2013. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/JOFEG

  35. Disposal and Taxation of Public Lands Act,” ALEC. Amended January 15, 2012. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/4YCWU

  36. Meet the Interior Department official who wants to give away America’s public lands,” WestWise, October 19, 2017. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/NfnK7

  37. “Joe Gamm, “County inspired by Community Emergency Response Teams’ efforts; Commission looks to hire county manager; stimulus projects meeting on tap,” The Daily Astorian, January 29, 2009. Quoted by Department of Influence.”

  38. Karma Neutral Offsets,” YouTube video uploaded by user “CascadeViews,” February 24, 2009.

  39. Renewable Energy- Todd Wynn - Cascade Policy Institute,” YouTube video uploaded by user “stillfreetochoose,” June 11, 2011.

  40. Todd Wynn. “ALEC to States: Repeal Renewable Energy Mandates ('Electricity Freedom Act' model bill adopted),” MasterResource, November 1, 2012. Archived June 22, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/QWmm6

Other Resources