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Shocker: Fossil Fuel Front Group Favors Transparency for Government, Not for Fossil Fuel Industry

2 min. read

In its groundbreaking report, Fossil Fuel Front Groups on the Front Page, the Checks and Balances Project identified 10  "Think Tanks" which specialize in "promot[ing] fossil fuels, attackp[ing] clean energy policy support, or undermin[ing] the seriousness of global climate disruption." One of those groups is the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which SourceWatch says received more than $300,000 from ExxonMobil between 2003 and 2007 and $175,000 from the Koch brothers.  In addition, SourceWatch notes, "In 2009 IER run a campaign on 'green jobs' attacking the expansion of renewables energies."

Finally, DeSmogBlog reported in 2010 that IER "commissioned and paid for the anti-wind energy study released last year by a Danish think tank that claimed Denmark exaggerates the amount of wind energy it produces (it doesn’t), questioned whether wind energy reduces carbon emissions (it does), and asserted that the U.S. should choose coal over wind because it’s cheaper (it’s not when you count the true costs of coal)."

So that's what we're dealing with here, a fossil-fuel front group that claims to be a "think tank" but whose business is all about lying about clean energy and relentlessly promoting fossil fuels.  Now, this group has released a poll which claims that "91% [of Americans] agree that studies and data funded by taxpayers should be made public." We have no disagreement with that, except that we'd broaden that out to private sector companies - such as those in which produce oil and gas - that receive federal funding, subsidies, etc.

We were wondering if IER had any problem with that, so we emailed them and asked.  Specifically, we wanted to know if IER was an enthusiastic supporter of requirements that frackers - tell us what they are putting into our drinking water. We reminded IER that a great deal of the R&D behind the fracking boom came from years of federal funding.

The response from IER to our inquires? Dead silence.  No, that's not surprising, but it's highly revealing, and not in a good way.