Thursday Energy Forum at GMU Law School: Fossil Fuel-Funded, Climate-Science-Denying Travesty

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This morning, I stumbled upon this article, "Cuccinelli, McAuliffe to Talk Energy at George Mason's Arlington Campus." As someone who worked for 17 years at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, who has consulted for several years to clean energy PR firm Tigercomm, and who cares passionately about moving as rapidly as possible from a carbon-based-energy to a clean-energy economy, I was curious to find out more. Especially since both Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli will be speaking there, and since one of those guys will be the next governor of Virginia.So, I clicked on the link for the event's registration page. What I found was eye opening, and not in a good way. Why not? Because it turns out that the four listed "hosts" and "sponsors" are all fossil fuel shills and/or climate science deniers and/or both. It's not a pretty picture.
1. The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy: I wrote about this group yesterday, noting that it is a libertarian/right-wing think tank committed to "free markets, limited government and individual responsibility." I also pointed out that the group is funded heavily by the Roe Foundation, a South Carolina-based which provides "financial support to free-market policy groups across the country" and which gives out its annual Roe Award to the likes of Grover Norquist and to others from right-wing groups like the Independence Institute (proud global warming deniers), the Reason Foundation (for years, global warming denierswho received funding from ExxonMobil), and the big-time climate science/global warming deniers at the Heartland Institute. In sum, the Thomas Jefferson Institute is a far-far-far-right-wing, rabidly-anti-government, pro-fossil-fuels, anti-environment group with diehard Republican faux-"scholars" who have given generously to Ken Cuccinelli and other Virginia GOP politicians. No wonder why Cuccinelli agreed to appear at this (to paraphrase Cooch, who claimed that the AARP and League of Women Voters' debate was "left wing" and "stacked") "right-wing, stacked" forum!
2. NOIA: While this group does support offshore wind power development, which is good, it is overwhelmingly dominated by fossil fuel interests. Its "national officers", for instance, include Key Energy Services (an oilfield services company); Hercules Offshore, Inc. (a provider of "services to the oil and gas industry"); and NOIA itself (described above; also note that this group gives overwhelmingly to Republicans). As if that's not pro-fossil-fuel enough for ya, NOIA's Excutive Committee includes representatives from Marathon Oil Company, Anadarko Petroleum, and ExxonMobil ('nuff said). Can we say "DRILL BABY DRILL?!?"
3. Consumer Energy Alliance: To quote DeSmogBlog's page on this group, this is a "fossil fuel industry front group" which has "to thwart government efforts to favor relatively cleaner conventional fuels over the dirtiest forms of extreme unconventional energy like the Alberta tar sands," and is financially backed by "oil industry power players, including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell and Norway's Statoil."  Any further questions on this one?
4. Virginia Manufacturers Association: This group's Energy Resources Policy Statement says it all, and is worth quoting at length (note, though, that most of what they say is either outright lies or serious distortions - see how many you can find!).

...Sustainable economic growth in manufacturing is contingent upon reliable and affordable energy and fuels, therefore, these needs may also necessitate improved states' rights...Virginia should also reject renewable portfolio mandates and similar energy regulation mandates on the basis that they are inconsistent with Virginia's energy plan, create economic inefficiencies, and result in higher costs for consumers......The Commonwealth's Congressional delegation should develop, support, and enact federal legislation, and petition for appropriate federal executive action, that will (i) provide an exemption to the moratorium that prevents any surveying, exploration, development, or production of potential natural gas or oil deposits in areas off the Commonwealth's Atlantic shore that are
under federal jurisdiction...
...The Commonwealth should promote clean coal development. Coal is the most abundant energy resource in the Commonwealth. It is essential to our economy and can be developed and used to produce energy in an environmentally responsible manner. Government actions that unreasonably increase the cost of developing and using coal are detrimental to Virginians...
...Federal and state-administered EPA programs and policies to regulate the economy in order to slow or stop global warming should carefully balance these competing necessities through rigorous scientific and economic standards. Any regulation that would impair the economy or lacks empirical and transparent measurement leading to broad scientifically validated reductions in global temperatures should be opposed... 
In sum, the upcoming energy forum in Arlington later this week is an almost 100% "stacked" (again, to use Ken Cuccinelli's own word) affair, wildly in favor of fossil fuel development while lukewarm at best towards clean energy and in favor of weak/ineffectual environmental protection (at best). I'd also point out who is NOT hosting or sponsoring this event: the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Virginia Sierra Club, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, theAmerican Wind Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the American Council on Renewable Energy, etc, etc. Getting the drift here? Again, it's no wonder that climate-science-denying, climate-scientist-persecuting, fossil-fuel-loving Ken "CONSOL" Cuccinelli feels totally comfortable at an event like this (as he most certainly does NOT at an even sponsored by AARP and the League of Women Voters). That really says it all about this guy, and about this event: a travesty in every conceivable way.P.S. As an added bonus the event is being held at GMU, which is heavily funded by the Koch brothers.