Not for the first time, the Kochs just got caught placing the same misleading and formulaic op-ed in multiple papers, across multiple states.
A formulaic opinion column, (most commonly titled) “[X state] Should Put Carbon Regulation On Ice,” by American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle has appeared in 10 outlets across 7 states over the last week-and-a-half. The Kochs opted for 35+ states last time this happened, but they’re being understandably cautious after getting caught and called out.
American Energy Alliance’s Koch connection comes in the form of a whopping $5 million that Koch front groups sent the organization between 2010 and 2014. But that’s not all: Thomas Pyle, the group’s president and op-ed’s author, is also a former lobbyist for Koch Industries.
It isn’t surprising that the Kochs are trying to impose their selfish policy agenda at the state level. That’s what they do with ALEC and their policy campaigns executed through Americans For Prosperity and their other front groups.
Nor is it surprising that Pyle’s generic op-ed is — at best — factually dubious. The op-ed, a critique of the EPA’s power plant carbon emissions regulation (of which the Kochs are well-known opponents), relies on a misleading Heritage Foundation study that:
(1) Was done before clean power rule was even finalized; and,
(2) Assumes a $37 carbon tax — not, as would be appropriate given the topic of the op-ed, the specifics of the clean power rule.
What a shock: The Kochs using a misleading and generic op-ed, published across multiple states, to influence state-level energy policies in such a way that will boost the billionaire brothers’ bottom line.
Thomas Pyle Got Versions Of The Same Misleading Op-Ed Published 10 Times Across 7 States
Tampa Tribune Headline: “Thomas J. Pyle: The Sunshine State Should Put Carbon Regulation On Ice” [Thomas J. Pyle – The Tampa Tribune, 2/24/16]
Pensacola News Journal Headline: “Viewpoint: Put Regulation On Ice” [Thomas J. Pyle – Pensacola News Journal, 2/28/16]
Detroit News Headline: “EPA’s Carbon Regulations Hurt Michigan” [Thomas Pyle – The Detroit News, 3/1/16]
Billings Gazette Headline: “Guest Opinion: Montana Ought To Halt On Clean Power Planning” [Thomas Pyle – Billings Gazette, 2/26/16]
Cherry Hill Courier-Post Headline: “COMMENTARY: Stop EPA’s Carbon Regulation”[Thomas J. Pyle – Courier Post, 2/19/16]
Tulsa World Headline: “Thomas J. Pyle: Oklahomans Shoul[d] Put Carbon Regulation On Ice” [Thomas J. Pyle – Tulsa World, 2/25/16]
Corpus Christi Caller Times Headline: “Put Carbon Regulation On Ice” [Thomas Pyle – Corpus Christi Caller Times, 2/21/16]
Houston Chronicle Headline: “Pyle: Texas Should Put Carbon Regulation On Ice”[Thomas Pyle – The Houston Chronicle, 2/26/16]
Waco Tribune-Herald Headline: “Thomas J. Pyle, Guest Columnist: High Court’s Stay Of New EPA Rules Best Thing For Texans” [Thomas J. Pyle – Waco Tribune-Herald, 2/21/16]
Deseret News Headline: “My View: Utah Should Put Carbon Regulations On Ice”[Thomas Pyle – Deseret News, 2/26/16]
The Editorial Opposed EPA Regulations On Carbon
American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle Argued That The EPA’s Carbon Rule “Would Fundamentally Restructure The Nation’s Power Grid — And Force Every American To Pay For It.” According to an op-ed by Thomas Pyle for The Detroit News, “First, some background. The EPA’s carbon rule would fundamentally restructure the nation’s power grid — and force every American to pay for it. It requires states to cut emissions from power plants by varying amounts.” [Thomas Pyle – The Detroit News, 3/1/16]
- Pyle: The Carbon Rule Would Require A Shift Away From Current Energy Sources To More Expensive Wind And Solar Technologies. According to an op-ed by Thomas Pyle for The Detroit News, “About the only way to accomplish such dramatic cuts would be to shut down affordable energy sources that Michiganders have already bought and paid for. Their replacements would largely come from wind and solar, which can be up to three times more expensive than traditional sources already in use. Those higher costs will be passed on to Michigan families in the form of higher energy bills.” [Thomas Pyle – The Detroit News, 3/1/16]
Pyle Argued That The Rule Would Cost American Manufacturing Jobs. According to an op-ed by Thomas Pyle for The Detroit News, “Those higher energy prices will hit employers, too, driving up the cost of doing business. That’s especially true for manufacturers, which require abundant energy usage. Combined with other new carbon regulations, the Heritage Foundation estimates this will cost up to 28,000 manufacturing jobs in Michigan alone. These crushing costs are part of the reason why 29 states — including Michigan — joined a federal lawsuit against the regulation.” [Thomas Pyle – The Detroit News, 3/1/16]
Opposed Implementation Of The Rule Until Supreme Court Rules
Pyle Opposed Implementation Of The EPA’s Carbon Rule Until At Least 2017 When The Supreme Court Could Issue A Final Ruling. According to an op-ed by Thomas Pyle for The Detroit News, “In other words, there will likely be no further action on this regulation until at least 2017, which is the earliest the Supreme Court could make its final ruling. And even with Justice Scalia’s recent passing — which many EPA supporters say improves their chances before the court — the future of the regulation remains in jeopardy, as evidenced by the bipartisan legal opposition to it. Therefore, during that time, it simply makes no sense for Michigan state authorities to proceed with implementation plans. Doing so risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars if the regulation is ultimately ruled illegal, which as the stay suggests, is likely.” [Thomas Pyle – The Detroit News, 3/1/16]
The Editorial Was A Copy & Paste Job That Used Misleading Studies
Each Article Quotes A Misleading Heritage Foundation Study On The State-By-State Effect Of The Climate Agenda On Manufacturing Jobs
The following is an example of the structure of the sentence quoting The Heritage Foundation study:
Combined with other new carbon regulations, the Heritage Foundation estimates this will cost up to <<NUMBER OF LOST JOBS>> manufacturing jobs in <<STATE>> alone.
Heritage Foundation Report: “The Obama Administration’s Climate Agenda Will Hit Manufacturing Hard: A State-By-State Analysis” [Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris and David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. – The Heritage Foundation, 2/17/15]
The Study Was Done Before The Clean Power Plan Was Finalized
The Clean Power Plan Was Finalized On August 3rd, 2015. [EPA, “Clean Power Plan: Rule History,” Accessed 3/2/16]
The Study Was Published On February 17th, 2015. [Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris and David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. – The Heritage Foundation, 2/17/15]
The Study Simulated A $37 Carbon Tax, Not The Clean Power Plan
The Study’s Methodology States That It Analyzed The “Economic Effects Of Instituting A $37 Carbon Tax” Based On The EPA’s Estimation Of The Social Cost Of Carbon.According to a study by Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris and David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. for the Heritage Foundation, “Methodology […] Carbon Tax Simulations and Diagnostics. We used the HEM to analyze the economic effects of instituting a $37 carbon tax based on the EPA’s estimation of the SCC assuming a 3 percent discount rate. HEM is appropriate for this analysis because similar models have been used in the past to understand the economic effects of other carbon tax proposals.12 In particular, we conducted simulations running a carbon fee that started in 2015 at $37 (in 2007 dollars per metric ton of carbon dioxide) and followed the schedule presented by the Obama Administration through the year 2040.13 We chose a revenue-neutral carbon tax that returns 100 percent of the carbon tax revenues directly to taxpayers.” [Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris and David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. – The Heritage Foundation, 2/17/15]
The Study Does Not Mention The Words “Clean Power Plan.” [Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D., Nicolas Loris and David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. – The Heritage Foundation, 2/17/15]
The Intro Follows The Same Formula
The following is an example of the structure of the first paragraph(s) of the op-eds:
The Supreme Court recently did all <<STATE’S RESIDENTS>> a favor: putting a temporary hold on the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping new carbon regulation. With a final ruling not expected until at least 2017, any continued work by <<STATE>> agencies on implementation plans risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars — and it’s why they should halt work on it immediately.
A Letter To The Courier-Post Called Out Pyle’s Big Oil Connections
A Letter To The Courier-Post Called Out Thomas J. Pyle As The President Of The Koch Brothers Funded American Energy Alliance. According to a letter by Michael Bowe to the Courier-Post, “Too bad the Courier-Post did not list additional facts about Thomas J. Pyle, who wrote the anti-President Barack Obama/anti-clean energy commentary. He is the president of the American Energy Alliance, the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research. The group is a nonprofit that is primarily funded by the Koch brothers and their donor network. The organization slams everything solar, while promoting everything oil, gas and coal.” [Michael Bowe – Courier-Post, 3/1/16]
The Letter Also Said That Pyle Was A Former Koch Industries Lobbyist. According to a letter by Michael Bowe to the Courier-Post, “Pyle is a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. The American Energy Alliance was formed to combat the clean energy regulations and promote fossil fuels as the best option for America. The commentary is full of hyperbole and blown-up and out-of-reality assumptions.” [Michael Bowe – Courier-Post, 3/1/16]
Pyle Is The President Of The American Energy Alliance
Thomas Pyle Was The President Of The American Energy Alliance. [American Energy Alliance, Accessed 3/2/16]
Pyle Was A Koch Industries Lobbyist
The Guardian: “Tom Pyle, A Former Lobbyist For Koch Industries, Runs The American Energy Alliance.” According to The Guardian, “The multi-front lobbying battles are being waged by several Koch backed groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance. Tom Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries, runs the American Energy Alliance. The two groups are also working to lift the ban on oil exports and to end funding for the US government’s Export-Import Bank, which they deem an example of ‘crony capitalism’.” [The Guardian, 12/2/15]
The Koch’s Funded The American Energy Alliance
Between 2010 And 2014, Koch Front Groups Gave The American Energy Alliance At Least $4,997,460. According to Conservative Transparency, Freedom Partners, The Center to Protect patient Rights, and Americans for Prosperity gave The American Energy Alliance at least $4,997,460 between 2010 and 2014. This information is further detailed in the following table:
|2014||Freedom Partners||American Energy Alliance||$2,367,500|
|2013||Freedom Partners||American Energy Alliance||$40,000|
|2012||Center to Protect Patient Rights||American Energy Alliance||$864,960|
|2012||Freedom Partners||American Energy Alliance||$1,460,000|
|2012||Americans for Prosperity||American Energy Alliance||$15,000|
|2010||Center to Protect Patient Rights||American Energy Alliance||$250,000|
[Conservative Transparency, Accessed 3/2/16]