Independence Institute

Independence Institute


The Independence Institute is a libertarian think tank based in Denver, Colorado with a stated mission “to empower individuals and to educate citizens, legislators and opinion makers about public policies that enhance personal and economic freedom.1About II,Independence Institute. Archived September 12, 2018. Archive URL:

Former Colorado state senator John Andrews (R), who previously worked as presidential speechwriter for Richard Nixon and chairman of the State Policy Network, founded the Independence Institute in 1985.2“Independence Institute,” Wikipedia,  (Need alternate citation to Wiki.)

The organization is the Colorado affiliate member of the State Policy Network.3“Independence Institute,” State Policy Network. Archived September 12, 2018. Archive URL:

Koch Ties

According to Greenpeace, the Independence Institute received at least $141,000 in donations from Koch foundations between 2000 and 2006.

According to an archive of its website, the Independence Institute previously offered a summer internship program via the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program, administered by the Institute for Humane Studies and the State Policy Network.4The Independence Institute’s Future Leaders Program,” Independence Institute. Archived April 24, 2013. Archive URL:

Stance on Climate Change

July 2016

A video clip from July 2016 features the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara and Simon Lomax discussing climate investigations initiated by several state attorneys general. Caldara and Lomax mock this accountability tactic and misleadingly portray climate change as an issue up for debate, rather than scientific reality.5You Can Be Sued For Having the ‘Wrong’ Opinion on Climate Change?!” YouTube video uploaded by user “IITV”, July 11, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSMog.

December 2012

The Institute’s Energy & Environmental Policy program posted a piece in December 2012 titled “Fossil fuel use protects us from climate-related risks”:6Fossil Fuel Use Protects Us From Climate-Related Risk,” Independence Institute, December 21, 2012. Archive URL:

“Thanks to the fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and farm machinery enabled by fossil fuels, increased global food production has made droughts less deadly.  Where extreme weather leaves people hungry and injured, fossil-fuel based transportation enables fast delivery of food, medical supplies, and disaster response units,” the piece claimed.

April 30, 2012

Another piece claims that wind farms contribute to global warming. The piece presents a tone of skepticism towards climate change while attacking one form of renewable energy.7“Green Energy Causes…Warming?” Independence Institute, April 30, 2012. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

February 2008

The Independence institute published a February 2008 report criticizing Colorado’s Climate Change Action Plan claims that programs aimed at GHG emissions reductions would be too expensive and that the plan’s cost-savings estimates are flawed.

The report also slammed Colorado’s governor for “buying into the ‘indisputable science’ side of the global warming discussion,” and for unveiling the Climate Action Plan with “alarming rhetoric.”8Benjamin Powell. “The Faulty Economics of Colorado’s Climate Change Action Plan: A Peer Review,” Independence Institute, February 2008. Retrieved from Scribd. Archive URL:

September 26, 2000

An Independence Institute paper titled “If You Can’t Stand the Heat…Don’t Blame Global Warming,” offers a misleading take on climate science that dismisses the risk and paints the concept as mere “theory.”9Ron Bain. “If You Can’t Stand the Heat…Don’t Blame Global Warming,” Independence Institute, September 26, 2000. Retrieved from Scribd. Archive URL:


The Independence Institute does not, and is not required to, disclose its donors. The following is based on data compiled by the Conservative Transparency Project combined with information available from publicly available 990 forms.10Independence Institute,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved September 12, 2018.

See the attached spreadsheet for details on the Independence Institute’s funding by year (.xlsx).

Adolph Coors Foundation$2,993,403
Donors Capital Fund$1,781,400
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation$1,475,000
National Rifle Association Foundation$1,050,125
Castle Rock Foundation$760,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation$577,911
Walton Family Foundation$515,000
William H. Donner Foundation$353,000
The Roe Foundation$352,500
State Policy Network$314,463
Schwab Charitable Fund$304,675
National Christian Charitable Foundation$280,500
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation$152,000
JM Foundation$95,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation$75,000
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation$50,000
Pew Charitable Trusts$40,000
National Philanthropic Trust$25,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation$16,000
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity$6,750
Windway Foundation$5,000
Center to Protect Patient Rights$5,000
Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking$5,000
American Encore$5,000
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice$1,000
Tepper Family Foundation$700
Grand Total$12,205,477

NRA Funding*

The Progressive reported in 2014 that the Independent Institute had received over $1.42 million including about $175,000 a year over eight years from the NRA.11Frank Smyth. “The Times Has Finally (Quitely) Outed an NRA_Funded ‘Independent’ Scholar,” The Progressive, April 23, 2014. Archived April 24, 2014.

Partial List of 1985-1990 Funders

According to a 1991 report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the Independence Institute was funded in part by the following corporations, organizations, and foundations from 1985 to 1990:12The Latest Attacks on Oil and Gas,” YouTube video uploaded by user “IITV”, February 27, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Corporations & Organizations

  • Amex Corp.
  • American Furniture Warehouse
  • Arapahoe Community College
  • Arco Coal
  • Automated Business Services
  • Bailey Companies
  • Ball Corp.
  • Benson Mineral Group
  • Caim Companies
  • Calcon Constructors
  • Captiva Corp.
  • Celtech Corp.
  • Chevron Oil
  • Ciruli Associates
  • Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
  • Colorado Association of School Executives
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Colorado Interstate Gas Co.
  • Colorado National Bankshares, Inc.
  • Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph
  • Columbine Venture Fund, Ltd.
  • Cooley Gravel Company
  • Coopers & Lybrand
  • Custom Envelope Corp.
  • David, Graham & Stubbs
  • Deloitte Haskins & Sells
  • Denver Technological Center
  • Denver West, Inc.
  • Dixon Paper
  • DTM Products
  • Duncan Cattle Company
  • Embassy Suites Hotel
  • Equity Syndication
  • Flatiron Companies
  • D.E. Frey and Co.
  • Frontier Oil and Refining
  • G.E. Johnson Construction
  • General Motors
  • Gerald Phipps Inc.
  • Great Southwest Construction Co.
  • Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce
  • Hewlett Packard
  • High Valley Group
  • Home Builders Association of Metro Denver
  • Hyatt Regency Denver
  • Ideal Basic Industries
  • Jostens Inc.
  • Kelmore Association
  • Keystone Resort Inc.
  • King Soopers
  • Koelbel and Co.
  • Louisiana Pacific Corp.
  • Lucas Oil and Gas
  • Martin Marietta
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Mobil Oil Corp.
  • Mountain States Employers Council
  • North Central Life Insurance Co.
  • Oklahoma Publishing
  • One Source Management
  • Peat Marwick Main & Co.
  • Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Denver
  • Phelps, Inc.
  • Gerald Phipps Inc.
  • [Potential Inc.] (illeg.)
  • Presto Print
  • Public Service Co. of Colorado
  • The Pueblo Chieftain
  • Ralston Purina Co.
  • Ready-Mixed Concrete
  • Ridgewood Realty
  • Robinson Dairy
  • Roche Constructors
  • Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association
  • Rocky Mountain Orthodontics
  • Saunders Construction
  • Shuck Corp.
  • Security Life of Denver
  • Step Thirteen
  • Stock Imagery Inc.
  • Storage Technology
  • True Oil
  • United Banks of Colorado, Inc.
  • United Bank of Denver
  • U.S. West Communications
  • Vail Association
  • Vessels Oil and Gas Co.
  • Welbourne Co.
  • Woodford Manufacturing


Koch Funding

According to Greenpeace,13Independence Institute,” Greenpeace. Accessed September 12, 2018. the Independence Institute received $141,000 in donations from Koch foundations between 2000 and 2006. This includes:

  • 2000: $50,000 from David H. Koch Charitable Foundation
  • 2003: $6000 from Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation
  • 2005: $56,661 from Charles Koch Foundation; $10,000 from Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation
  • 2006: $18,339 from Charles Koch Foundation

Fundraising Sponsors

* Energy Policy Network is listed as a sponsor of the Independence Institute’s fundraising “Founders’ Night” dinners (2016, 2017). EPN appears to be a coal industry front group. Its website promotes misleading “facts” about coal and includes a cartoonish coal mascot “Lumpy” at the bottom of the homepage.14Energy Policy Network homepage, accessed September 12, 2018.

Other Founders’ Night sponsors with fossil fuel industry ties include:

            2016 Sponsors:15Founders’ Night 2016,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

  • Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development – Champion Sponsor: $5,000
  • Energy Policy Network – Inquiring Sponsor: $2,500
  • Colorado Mining Association – Inquiring Sponsor: $2,500

            2017 Sponsors:16“Founders’ Night Dinner 2017,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

  • Bill Barrett Corporation – Champion Sponsor: $5,000
  • Colorado Mining Association – Inquiring Sponsor: $2,500
  • Energy Policy Network – Inquiring Sponsor: $2,500

            2018 Sponsors:17Founders’ Night 2018,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

990 Forms

Key People

In 2016, Cooke was named to President Trump’s EPA Transition Team. She has worked in energy policy since 2010. According to her bio on the Independence Institute’s website, she “is famous for her provocative messaging like ‘Mothers In Love with Fracking’ and ‘I’m an energy feminist because I’m pro-choice in energy sources,’ which the eco-left called ‘hands down the worst kind of feminism.’”18Amy Oliver Cooke,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

  • Michael SandovalEnergy policy associate analyst

Michael Sandoval is a contract employee who also works as managing editor for Western Wire, which is “project of Western Energy Alliance, a non-profit regional oil and natural gas association based in Denver, Colorado, and active across 13 states.”19About Us,” Western Wire. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

Sandoval previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Heritage Foundation covering “green energy issues” (criticizing renewable energy), and is a 2013 graduate of the Koch Associate Program.20Michael Sandoval,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:


David Kopel YYYYYYYYYYResearch Director and Second Amendment Project Director
Linda Gorman YYYYYYYYYYHealth Care Policy Center Director
Pam Benigno YYYYYYYYYYEducation Policy Center Director
Jon CaldaraY YYYYYYYYYPresident
Amy Oliver Cooke  YYYYYYYYYExecutive Vice President and Director of the Energy and Environmental Policy Center
Dennis Polhill  YYYYYYYYYPublic Infrastructure and Colorado Term Limits
Justin Longo  YYYYYYYYYCommunications/Creative Lab/Complete Colorado
Mike Krause  YYYYYYYYYJustice Policy
Paul Prentice  YYYYYYYYYSenior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
Rob Natelson  YYYYYYYYYConstitutional Jurisprudence
Michael Sandoval    Y   YYYAssociate Policy Analyst
Damon Sasso        YYYVice President, Operations and Creative Lab
Ross Izard        YYYSenior Fellow, K-12 Education Policy
Shari Hanrahan        YYYDirector of Investor Opportunities
Sherrie Peif        YYYEducation Reporter
Tracy Kimball Smith        YYYCreative Lab
Randal O’Toole YYYYYYY YYTransportation Policy Center Director
Kathleen Chandler         YYProject Coordinator, Local Government Project
Megan Polston         YYAdministrative Assistant
Shayne Madsen         YYDirector, Political Law Center
Todd Lubas         YYDirector of Strategic Partnerships
Connan Houser          YK-12 Education Research Associate
James Lutack          YDonor Relations Manager
Rachael Kaiser          YSchool Choice for Kids Database Manager
Mary Macfarlane  YYYYYYY  Operations
Todd Shepherd  YYYYYYY  Investigative Reporter
Cherish Schaffer      YYY  Special Projects
Angelica Malik        Y  Development Manager
Erick Valencia        Y  Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Education Policy Center
Simon Lomax        Y  Associate Energy Policy Analyst
Ben DeGrow YYYYYYY   Senior Policy Analyst, Education Policy Center
Marya DeGrow YYYYYYY   Research Associate, Education Policy Center
Barry Fagin  YYYYYY   Technology Policy
Barry Poulson  YYYYYY   Economic Policy
Brian Schwartz  YYYYYY   Research Associate, Health Care Policy Center
Fred Holden  YYYYYY   Tax and Fiscal Policy
J. Craig Green  YYYYYY   Senior Fellow, Water Policy
Jay Ambrose  YYYYYY   Contributing Columnist
Joanne D. Eisen  YYYYYY   Senior Fellow, Criminal Justice
Julie Mallon  YYYYYY   Vice President of Development
Karen Zuppa  YYYYYY   Accountant
Krista Kafer  YYYYYY   Senior Fellow, Education Policy Center
Mark Hillman  YYYYYY   Senior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
Paul Gallant  YYYYYY   Criminal Justice
Raaki Garcia-Ulam  YYYYYY   Hispanic outreach coordinator, School Choice for Kids
Tracy Smith  YYYYYY   Graphic Designer
Kait Lochner     YYY   Assistant to the Vice President of Operations
Susan Evans     YYY   Director of Major Gifts
William Yeatman     YYY   Policy Anaylst, Energy Policy Center
Penn Pfiffner YYYYY     Senior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
Cherish Shaffer     Y     Intern Coordinator
Christina “CJ” James Buchanan     Y     Development
Debi Brazzale  YYY      Capitol Reporter
Habtamu Dugo  YYY      Senior Fellow, Civil Rights
Donovan Schafer    Y      Research Associate, Energy Policy Center
Nancy MillerY YY       Director of Publications
Jessica Corry  YY       Director of the Campus Accountability Project and Property Rights Project
Kay Cullar  YY       Office Manager
Jocelyn Armstrong  Y        IT and Communications Director
Jessica Peck Y         Director, Campus Accountability Project
Kathleen Calongne Y         Administrative Assistant to the Center for the American Dream
Anne McIntyreY          Volunteer and Ancient Factotum
Jennifer MamichY          Director of Advancement & Operations
JoAnn HoweY          Advancement and Operations, Administrative Assistant
Matthew EdgarY          Manager of Technical Operations/Web Manager
Terry NowellY          Executive Assistant to the President

Board of Trustees21Board of Trustees,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

Catherine ShopneckYYY
Debbie Donner YY
Jeff CoorsYYY
Joe IgnatY  
Jon CaldaraYYY
Joseph SmithYYY
Katherine WhitcombYYY
Mike McCartyYYY


March 24, 2020

The Coalition of Ratepayers, a spin-off of the Independence Institute formed to contest the closure of coal-fired plants by Colorado utility Xcel Energy, received money for its efforts from another front group funded by the coal industry, according to public documents.22Mark Jaffe. “Wyoming coal interests funneled money, experts to infuence Colorado PUC decision on closing parts of Pueblo plant,” The Colorado Sun, March 24, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive URL:

The Colorado Sun reported that the Energy Policy Network, funded by companies including Peabody Energy and Cloud Peak Energy as well as Wyoming state government, provided the Coalition of Ratepayers $45,000. EPN also provided “legal and technical experts” to file comments with and testify before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission opposing the closure of two power plants at Comanche Station in Pueblo, Colorado. The documents were obtained by the nonprofit Energy and Policy Institute via Freedom of Information Act request.23Mark Jaffe. “Wyoming coal interests funneled money, experts to infuence Colorado PUC decision on closing parts of Pueblo plant,” The Colorado Sun, March 24, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive URL:

Charles Griffey, an expert witness provided by EPN but appearing before the PUC on behalf of the Coalition of Ratepayers, contested utility estimates of more than $200 million in savings provided customers by closing the plants, the Sun reported. While the PUC adopted some of the Coalition’s recommendations, such as a cost plan, the plants are still slated to close by 2026.24Mark Jaffe. “Wyoming coal interests funneled money, experts to infuence Colorado PUC decision on closing parts of Pueblo plant,” The Colorado Sun, March 24, 2020. Archived April 6, 2020. Archive URL:

March 23, 2020

As reported at DeSmog, Life:Powered sent a letter to Congress critical of the COVID-19 stimulus package for including “tax incentives and spending for unreliable ‘green’ energy
programs.”25Dana Drugmand. “Under Cover of Pandemic, Fossil Fuel Interests Unleash Lobbying Frenzy,” DeSmog, April 2, 2020. 26Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The letter, to which the Center of the American Experiment is a signatory, concludes:27Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“This is no time for political games. Climate change is not an immediate threat to humanity. Climate-related deaths have declined 98.9% in the last century, and humanity is growing more and more resilient thanks to the availability of affordable, reliable energy. On behalf of all Americans, we urge you to oppose any stimulus proposals that carve out special treatment for or bail out any energy companies and focus instead on stopping COVID-19.”28Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The full list of signatories is below:29Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Jason IsaacSenior Manager & Distinguished FellowLife:Powered/Texas Public Policy Foundation
Myron EbellDirector, Center for Energy and EnvironmentCompetitive Enterprise Institute
Bette GrandeCEORoughrider Policy Center
Ellen WeaverPresident & CEOPalmetto Promise Institute
Isaac OrrPolicy FellowCenter of the American Experiment
Bethany MarcumExecutive DirectorAlaska Policy Forum
David T. StevensonDirector, Center for Energy and EnvironmentCaesar Rodney Institute
Donald van der VaartSenior FellowJohn Locke Foundation
Jason HayesDirector of Environmental PolicyMackinac Center for Public Policy
John Droz, Jr.FounderAlliance for Wise Energy Decisions
George K. Rasley, Jr.Managing
Becky Norton DunlopFormer Secretary of Natural ResourcesCommonwealth of Virginia
James L. MartinFounder/Chairman60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” AnuzisPresident60 Plus Association
Ken BlackwellSenior FellowFamily Research Council
Eunie SmithPresidentEagle Forum
Jenny Beth MartinHonorary ChairmanTea Party Patriots Action
Jon CaldaraPresidentIndependence Institute
L. Brent Bozell, IIIFounder and PresidentMedia Research Center
Jason PyeVice President of Legislative AffairsFreedomWorks
Jameson TaylorVice President for PolicyMississippi Center for Public Policy
Carol Platt LiebauPresidentYankee Institute
Mike StenhouseCEORhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity
Daniel ErspamerCEOPelican Institute for Public Policy
Christian N. BraunlichPresidentThomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy
Todd MyersEnvironmental DirectorWashington Policy Center


According to The Independence Institute’s Independent Inking publication, its E2P (Energy & Environmental Policy) opposes Senate Bill 181.  At the Western Conservative Summit, four Colorado Christian University students wore “MILF” — “Mothers In Love With Fracking” — shirts.30Independent Thining, Fall 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“At E2P, we pride ourselves on being fuel agnostics, but when legislators try to destroy an energy source and our economy with the swipe of a pen, we won’t be silent. Hence, why we brought our infamous MILF shirts to this summer’s Western Conservative Summit,” The Independent Institute wrote.31Independent Thining, Fall 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“The men and women in the extraction and energy development industry are heroes! And these CCU students know it. Their mothers should be proud. We certainly are.”32Independent Thining, Fall 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

May 9, 2019

The Independence Institute, represented by Amy Oliver Cooke, signed on to an open letter organized by the American Energy Alliance designed to fight against an electric vehicle tax credit.33Dear Senator Grassley, Senator Wyden, Representative Neal and Representative Brady:” May 9, 2019. Retrieved from The Daily Caller.

“The American Energy Alliance has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Thomas Pyle wrote in a statement, quoted at The Daily Caller. There is no question that the electric vehicle tax credit distorts the auto market to no gain.”34Christ White. “CONSERVATIVES WARN LAWMAKERS: TESLA’S TAX CREDITS ‘OVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE RICH’,”The Daily Caller, May 9, 2019. Archived May 9, 2019. URL:

According to Pyle and others who signed the letter, electric vehicle tax credits “overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” DeSmog’s Koch vs. Clean project has systematically debunked this, among other well-rehearsed talking points and misinformation put forward by industry about electric vehicles.35Christ White. “CONSERVATIVES WARN LAWMAKERS: TESLA’S TAX CREDITS ‘OVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE RICH’,”The Daily Caller, May 9, 2019. Archived May 9, 2019. URL:

The letter cites research by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a group that has received over $600,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from “dark money” groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund

August 30, 2018

A blog piece on the Institute’s website rails against Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Plan recently approved by the Public Utilities Commission. The plan seeks to replace coal generation with wind and solar, halving carbon emissions and saving ratepayers $215 million. But the blog piece, written by a former coal executive at Xcel, argues that ratepayers will pay more under this plan.

The author claims any customer savings would be “several decades away” and points to coal jobs that would be lost. Contrary to these complaints, the economics are actually favorable to renewable energy. As an Xcel resource planning executive told Greentech Media, “In many areas, the incremental cost of renewable generation is currently less than the embedded cost of existing generation.” The author of the blog piece, Duane Richards, is a former Director of Coal for Xcel Energy.36Duane Richards. “The Colorado Energy Plan: A proposal that benefits all but the consumer,” Independence Institute, August 30, 2018. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

This piece appears to be part of a new campaign started in 2018 to push back against Colorado and its largest utility Xcel Energy’s transition to clean energy. The “Coalition of Ratepayers” is an Independence Institute-led attack on the Colorado Energy Plan, though it presents itself as a “nonprofit” standing up for “small business and residential ratepayers that otherwise have no advocate and no voice.”37Coalition of Ratepayers,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

Based on the Coalition’s PR materials, however, the group appears to be a front for dirty energy interests, particularly coal. A March 2018 op-ed in The Hill, for example, clearly presents the Coalition as a pro-coal sympathizer.

“Besides building out industrial wind and solar, the $2.5 billion CEP would retire prematurely 660 megawatts (enough to power roughly 660,000 homes) of relatively young, low-cost, highly-utilized, environmentally state-of-art coal-fueled power plants,” Amy Oliver Cooke, director of energy and environmental policy at the Independence Institute, writes. Further down in the op-ed, she floats the idea that the next Colorado governor could, perhaps, issue a call for “100 percent coal.”38Amy Cooke. “Coloradans are taking on the state’s largest monopoly utility,” The Hill, March 7, 2018. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

April 2018

Independence Institute again celebrated Earth Day with a “Fossil Fuels Poster Contest,” with the theme of “Modern Life: Made Possible by Fossil Fuels.”

According to the contest description: “We want to highlight the work horses of the energy world — fossil fuels…The choice of energy sources and how they are utilized should come from the demands of an innovative and free market with fossil fuels, wind, and solar competing on an even playing field.”39Earth Day Fossil Fuels Poster Contest,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

Independence Institute fails to mention that fossil fuels are heavily subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars annually, not to mention the external costs of dirty energy in terms of climate and health costs. The hypocrisy of the contest itself and the explanation behind it could not be clearer.

February 27, 2018

This video clip from “Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara” features Caldara discussing Boulder, Colorado’s plan to take legal action against oil and gas companies with Michael Sandoval. Caldara and Sandoval dismiss the climate damage that drives the climate liability lawsuits and trumpet the fossil fuel industry talking point that these suits are solely about lining the pockets of the plaintiff attorneys.

“But when you’re talking about damages I think we should focus on the damages that [plaintiffs’ attorneys] are expecting to get out of it, not the actual climate change damages that they’re claiming,” said Sandoval.40The Latest Attacks on Oil and Gas,” YouTube video uploaded by user “IITV”, February 27, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

April 2017

The Independence Institute held an “Earth Day Fossil Fuels Art Contest” for the purpose of showcasing “the awesomeness of fossil fuels.” The blatant promotion of fossil fuels fittingly included a fossil fuel reward as its prize – a $100 gasoline gift card.

“It’s time to include fossil fuels in the Earth Day celebration,” Amy Oliver Cooke, executive vice president and director of the Independence Institute’s Energy Policy Center, told Bloomberg.

As the Bloomberg article points out, Independence Institute has financial ties to fossil fuel interests like Peabody Energy and Koch Industries, and previous donors include entities like Mobil Oil Corp.41Ari Natter. “Earth Day Art Contest Showcases ‘Awesomeness’ of Fossil Fuels,” Bloomberg, April 13, 2017.

March 16, 2017

The Institute hosted an event titled “Inside President Trump’s EPA Transition Team.” The luncheon event featured notable climate denier Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute talking about the new direction of the EPA.

The event description described Ebell as an “EPA Transition Team Leader and ‘climate contrarian.’”42Inside Trump’s EPA Transition Team,” Independence Institute.

Contact & Address

According to the contact info on its website, as of September 2018, The Independence Institute is located in the “Uptown” neighborhood in Denver, at the corner of 16th Avenue and Clarkson Street.43Contact,” Independence Institute. Archived September 13, 2018. Archive URL:

727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203

Main phone line: 303-279-6536
Fax: 303-279-4176
Event RSVP line: 303-279-6536 X102

Main and Event E-mail: [email protected]
Donations: [email protected]
Media/Publications: [email protected]

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