The activists gathered behind closed doors in a Houston hotel meeting room last week had long existed on the political fringe. They’d dismissed the science behind climate change, preached the virtues of fossil fuels and seethed about the Environmental Protection Agency’s power and reach.
They also had been largely ignored by many top federal officials. Until the election of President Trump.
But now, at the private meeting sponsored by a free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute, the activists were both giddy and grumpy. So much of what the Trump administration had done to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations was positive, they agreed, as were the White House’s efforts to promote the oil and gas industry and halt federal action to combat climate change.
And yet, they said, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Heartland officials handed out a three-page “Energy Freedom Scorecard” that evaluated the extent to which Trump and his deputies had delivered on their top policy priorities. As much as they welcome the administration’s efforts, the scorecard made clear that they think the president could do more, much more.
As the article notes, US EPA Administrator Scott Priutt gave a video message to the think tank. After Priutt was nominated to that position in December, the Heartland Institute issued a press release praising the announcement.
Earlier in the year, the EPA had asked the Heartland Institute to help identify scientists to join the agency's "red team-blue team" effort to debate the science of climate change.
Here is a piece from E&E News about the think tank's close connection to the Trump Administration's EPA.