Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against U.S. clean energy strategy, plan ‘subversion’ and ‘dummy businesses’Posted by Jim at Wednesday, May 09, 2012
By Suzanne Goldenberg US environment correspondent, www.guardian.co.uk
8 May 2012
A network of ultra-conservative groups is ramping up an offensive on multiple fronts to turn the American public against wind farms and Barack Obama's energy agenda.
A number of rightwing organisations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which also has financial links to the Kochs, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy.
Now a confidential strategy memo seen by the Guardian advises using "subversion" to build a national movement of wind farm protesters.
The strategy proposal was prepared by a fellow of the American Tradition Institute (ATI) – although the thinktank has formally disavowed the project.
The proposal was discussed at a meeting of self-styled 'wind warriors' from across the country in Washington DC last February.
"These documents show for the first time that local Nimby anti-wind groups are co-ordinating and working with national fossil-fuel funded advocacy groups to wreck the wind industry," said Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances, the accountability group which unearthed the proposal and other documents.
Among its main recommendations, the proposal calls for a national PR campaign aimed at causing "subversion in message of industry so that it effectively because so bad that no one wants to admit in public they are for it."
It suggests setting up "dummy businesses" to buy anti-wind billboards, and creating a "counter-intelligence branch" to track the wind energy industry. It also calls for spending $750,000 to create an organisation with paid staff and tax-exempt status dedicated to building public opposition to state and federal government policies encouraging the wind energy industry.
The proposal was reviewed by John Droz Jr, a senior fellow at ATI, for discussion at the Washington meeting, which he also organised. ATI's executive director, Tom Tanton, said Droz had acted alone on the memo, although he confirmed he remains a fellow at the thinktank. […]
Kert Davies, Greenpeace research director, agrees. "They are going back to the states to create the space for an anti-Obama, anti-green energy thing. It is really a political attack," he said. "What the right wing wants to perpetuate is that this is a type of energy that never works and requires massive government handouts."
More than 30 local wind farm opponents, all selected by Droz, came to Washington at his invitation. Participants included members of conservative groups such as Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and Tea Party Patriots. […]