Tuesday, July 7, 2015

CAP Helps EPA Influence the Media on Climate Debate

This article from Fox News shows how think tanks try (and are often successful) in influencing the public policy debate in the United States:
A prominent left-wing group helped formulate Environmental Protection Agency talking points designed to sell a controversial regulatory scheme to skeptical journalists, internal emails show. 
The emails show Joseph Goffman, the senior counsel of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, circulating talking points from Center for American Progress climate strategy director Daniel Weiss among EPA colleagues attempting to sell the agency's controversial power plant regulations to a New York Times reporter. 
Weiss emailed Goffman in September 2013 with a series of suggestions for convincing the Times' Matt Wald of the commercial viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, a vital component of the agency's stringent power plant emissions regulations. 
Five minutes later, Goffman sent an email to five colleagues in his office and the agency's public affairs division. Unredacted language in the email is identical to language in Weiss' list of talking points. 
The Environment & Energy (E&E) Legal Institute obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request. Chris Horner, a senior legal fellow at E&E, said they show extensive behind-the-scenes collaboration between EPA and third-party groups that support the regulations.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has extremely strong relations with the EPA, and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the think tank.

Current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has given speeches at CAP, including this one in 2014, and this one in 2013.

Think Tank Watch should point out that it is not uncommon for think tank scholars to have close relationships with the White House, federal agencies, and the US Congress.  And since CAP has extremely close relations with the Obama Administration, it is no surprise that CAP helped craft EPA talking points.

And if Hillary Clinton becomes president, she will likely utilize CAP's ideas and talent.

In related think tank/climate change news, a new study shows that even with the numerous climate change-denialist think tanks, the US may not have the most climate change skeptics per capita.