Institute for Energy Research

Institute for Energy Research (IER)


The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that “conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets,” according to its website.

IER, founded in 1989 from a “predecessor non-profit organization,” maintains a focus on “energy analysis and free-market energy and environmental policy” with reports and analysis criticizing plans to lower emissions and attacking renewable energy. [67], [1]

IER‘s founder and CEO is Robert L. Bradley Jr., former Director of Policy Analysis at Enron. Bradley worked for over 16 years at Enron, also working as the speechwriter for Kenneth L. Lay, and wrote “Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” (Cato Institute, 1997) where he voices his opposition of green energy. Bradley has worked with a range of free market think-tanks including the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Institute of Economic Affairs in London, Center for Energy Economics, and the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University. [35]

The Institute for Energy Research supported and promoted both the “Spanish” and “Danish” studies critical of jobs in green energy, both of which have been debunked. [43] According to the IER, efforts to reduce emissions to curb global warming would accomplish little at too great a costIER has promoted studies by The American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the Heritage Foundation on the supposed costs of climate policy. [44][45]

Koch Connections

Documents obtained by the Republic Report revealed that Charles Koch was directly involved with the IER at its formation through the IER‘s predecessor organization, The Institute for Humane Studies of Texas. [40] According to the Institute’s articles of incorporation filed in 1984, Koch was a member of the group’s board of directors. [41]

The Republic Report reports that the Institute for Humane Studies of Texas briefly lost its charter in 1989 for failure to pay the Texas state franchise tax. Four years later, incorporation documents reveal, the group rebranded as the Institute for Energy Research, or IER[41]

Huffington Post describes how the IER became known for its role in advocating against tax subsidies on renewable energy, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has been criticized for its acceptance of funding from Koch family foundations, and the group’s president, Thomas Pyle, is a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. [42]

The American Energy Alliance

The American Energy Alliance (AEA) is the “advocacy arm” of the Institute for Energy Research, and describes itself as a “not-for-profit organization that engages in grassroots public policy advocacy and debate concerning energy and environmental policies.” [2]

Thomas Pyle, a former Koch and oil-industry lobbyist, is the President of both IER and the American Energy Alliance. [3], [4]

IER has also been a member of the Sustainable Development Network, a group which shares staff and may have additional connections with the International Policy Network.

Stance on Climate Change


“That human activity has increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2, a gas known to ‘force’ climate or increase temperatures while the Earth has warmed about 0.6 Degrees Celsius over the last one hundred years is generally accepted. How the climate works and the relationship of different variables remains to be determined.” [5]


“Any discussion of climate change must keep in mind that the Earth’s climate is an extremely complex system. Even though significant advances in data collection and analysis have occurred over the past 30 years, much uncertainty remains.” [44]

“Climate changes naturally all the time, partly in predictable cycles, and partly in unpredictable shorter rhythms and rapid episodic shifts, some of the causes of which remain unknown. We are fortunate that our modern societies have developed during the last 10,000 years of benignly warm, interglacial climate. But for more than 90% of the last two million years, the climate has been colder, and generally much colder than today.” [44]

“A troubling aspect of the discussion of the discussion of Global Warming is the idea that our level of scientific understanding is perfect; or that we have little left to learn. As the previous discussion has shown, this is incorrect and many scientists disagree with the idea that the causes and consequences of warming are perfectly understood.” [44]


According to the IER website, the group is “funded entirely by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. No financial support is sought for or accepted from government sources.” [1]

IER has received funding from fossil fuel interests and several conservative funding sources, including Donors Trust. The Conservative Transparency Database breaks down the Institute for Energy Research’s funding as follows. Note that not individual funding data values have been verified by DeSmog. [6]

See attached spreadsheet for details on Institute for Energy Research funding by year (.xlsx).

Marshall Heritage Foundation$1,550,000
American Energy Alliance$800,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation$365,090
Exxon Mobil$337,000
Searle Freedom Trust$275,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation$235,000
American Petroleum Institute$160,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia$155,940
Charles Koch Institute$102,652
Sarah Scaife Foundation$75,000
Adolph Coors Foundation$75,000
The Randolph Foundation$60,000
Castle Rock Foundation$50,000
The Challenge Foundation$35,000
Armstrong Foundation$35,000
The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation$31,100
Earhart Foundation$17,500
True Foundation$15,000
Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking$5,000
Eric Javits Family Foundation$750
Grand Total$5,464,032

990 Forms

Koch Funding

In 2013, Greenpeace’s Polluterwatch project found IER and AEA have received funding from Koch for a $3.6 million anti-Obama gas price advertising campaign. AEA itself has received funding from both ExxonMobil and Koch Industries. [7]

Greenpeace has also tracked IER‘s Koch funding year over year. [66]

*Note that original tax forms prior to 1997 are no longer available for verification, so are based on values recorded by the Conservative Transparency project. [66]

YearCharles G. Koch Charitable FoundationClaude R. Lambe Charitable FoundationCharles Koch InstituteGrand Total
1991*$2,000  $2,000
1997 $2,500 $2,500
1998 $2,500 $2,500
1999 $2,500 $2,500
2001 $2,500 $2,500
2002 $25,000 $25,000
2003 $10,000 $10,000
2004 $15,000 $15,000
2005 $25,000 $25,000
2006 $25,000 $25,000
2007 $125,000 $125,000
2012$5,000  $5,000
2014$23,628 $12,000$35,628
2015$66,404 $31,091$97,495
2016$173,380 $23,272$196,652
2017$94,678 $20,289$114,967
2018  $16,000$16,000
Grand Total$365,090$235,000$102,652$702,742

Alpha Natural Resources

The Institute for Energy Resources was one of the companies named in the bankruptcy documents of major coal company Alpha Natural Resources. [8]

Key People


Robert L. Bradley, Jr.YYYYYYYYYCEO and Founder
Lisa Wallace YYYYYYYYSenior Vice President, Operations and Development
Thomas J. Pyle YYYYYYYYPresident. Also director of federal affairs for Koch Industries.
Daniel Kish YYYYYYY Senior Vice President, Policy
Daniel R. Simmons YYYYYYY Vice President for Policy. Also task force director for the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Brian J. Kennedy Y       Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
William Alfred Koetzle Y       Senior Vice President of Public Policy
Thomas TantonY        Environmental Fellow, Pacific Research Institute. Former Vice President, IER.

Board of Directors

Jim ClarksonYYYYYYYYYYYYPresident, Resource Supply Management
Preston MarshallYYYYYYYYYYYYPresident, MarOpCo
Steven F. HaywardYYYYYYYYYYYYVisiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy and the author of the “Almanac of Environmental Trends” (Pacific Research Institute, 2011)
Richard Stroup    YYYYYYYYSenior Visiting Professor of Economics, North Carolina State University
Wayne Gable   YYYYYY YYPresident, Gable Consulting
Trent Sebits          YYChairman of the Board, Pickrell Drilling Company
Robert L. Testwuide III    YYYYYYY Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Robert L. Bradley, Jr.YYYY        CEO and Founder
Douglas B. WyattYYY         Chairman, CEO, Elk Resources, Inc.
Howard Gano, Jr.YYY         CPA, Gano & Gano, Inc. 
Nancy C. BradleyYYY         Secretary/Treasurer, Institute for Energy Research
Rusty Smith YY         Manager, Kansas City Power and Light
Thomas F. Tanton  Y          
William M. YeattsYY          Chairman, Digikinetics Ltd. & RAM, Inc., Buenos Aires
James L. JohnstonY           Retired Senior Economist, Amoco


Robert J. Michaels  YYYYYYYYSenior Fellow
Mary J. Hutzler   YYYYYYYDistinguished Senior Fellow
Robert P. Murphy   YYYYYYYSenior Economist
Charles Drevna       Y  Distinguished Senior Fellow. Former Oil Industry Lobbyist [9]
Roger Donway YYYYY    Senior Research Fellow
Andrew P. Morriss  YYYY    Senior Fellow
David W. Hutzelman    YY    Fellow, Director of Special Projects
Richard W. FulmerYYYY      Senior Fellow
Jerry Taylor  YY      Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Joel Schwartz  YY      Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Marlo Lewis  YY      Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Richard Gordon  YY      Penn State University, Energy Journal
Thomas TantonYY Y      Environmental Fellow, Pacific Research Institute
John JennrichYYY       Senior Fellow
Kenneth Green  Y       Visiting Fellow; American Enterprise Institute


Dustin DeBerryYYYYYYYDirector, Donor Relations
Alexandra Newell   YYYYOffice Manager
Jordan McGillis      Y 
Chris Warren  YYYY Director, Communications
Mike Morrison  YYYY Director, Digital Media
Kris Daniel   YYY Director, Development
Travis Fisher   YYY Economist
Daniel Smith    YY Manager, Digital Media and Communications
Genevieve Thornton  YY   Director, Marketing
Landon Stevens   Y   Policy Associate
Robin MillicanYYY    Director, Federal Affairs
Benjamin Cole YY    Director, Communications
Hank Butler  Y    Policy Associate
Johnny Russell  Y    Director, Digital Media
Jeffrey HubbardYY     Director, Digital Media
John MavretichY      Director, Communications
Rhonda HegaziY      Director, Businass Administration


February 17, 2021

The IER published an article which disputed the effectiveness of Germany’s renewable energy investments. It stated that: “the solar and wind units are drawing power from the grid powered mainly by coal to keep their internal workings from freezing up.” The article also contended that as a result of the increased implementation of wind and solar energy, “the possibility of blackouts is likely to become more frequent.” [88]

May 25, 2020

Tom Pyle was featured in a article describing how he and IER were “punching above their weight for energy.” The article highlighted how Pyle and IER played a role fighting for fossil fuels. [87]

I think we’ve made a pretty big difference in terms of these battles, these policy fights,” Pyle said of what ShaleMag described as IER‘s advocacy of “a holistic approach that considers the welfare of energy consumers, energy producers and taxpayers.”

“I think we’ve established ourselves as a bedrock, a foundation of free market, promotion of free markets and less government intervention in energy. I’m really proud of the team that we’ve built, and we’ve got a lot of great alumni spread around, both at the Hill and in other places. One of our communications directors is working for Texas Governor Greg Abbott, for example, another at the Department of Energy. Others have gone on to run other organizations. We’re just a little one issue shop, but I think we punch above our weight, and we’ve helped prevent some really bad policies from coming into fruition. We’ve been on the other side as well, where we’ve been providing some great solutions that this president has been able to achieve in the last three years,” Pyle said.

Discussing Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign’s focus on climate change legislation and renewable energy, Pyle commented: [87]

We saw the threat. To give the former president credit, he never hid what his intentions were with respect to the energy issues and the environmental issues. He made it absolutely clear he wanted to fundamentally transform this country. And he also made it clear in many a speech that he wanted to make ‘renewable’ or ‘clean’ energy become ‘profitable’ energy. That was code for using the government to make his pet energy sources more competitive with those that work better in the market.”

Pyle said he and IER focused on attacking Obama’s descriptions of hydraulic fracturing (Fracking). [87]

“[H]e was basing this whole agenda on this myth of scarcity, and we were having none of that. From the very beginning we intended to blow a hole in those theories,” Pyle said. “One of the first projects we produced was an inventory of the natural resources that we have in this country. We found that we have more energy resources underneath our lands and shores than any other country in the world, by far. So, it was never an issue of scarcity.”

Pyle commented on the recent film by Michael Moore, Planet of the Humans. The film, which has been criticized by environmental groups for its factual inaccuracy, was also criticized by Josh Fox—the producer of “Gasland,” a film that highlighted some of the risks of fracking in 2010. [87]

Josh Fox! Yeah, he’s saying Moore’s movie should be taken down because it’s ‘riddled with inaccuracies,’” Pyle commented. “‘Gasland,’ oh my gosh, are you kidding me? ‘Gasland’ is full of inaccuracies, outright lies, and they tried to use it to destroy the industry. And they were unable to do it.”

Pyle went on to describe his experience serving on President Trump’s transition team: [87]

I was fortunate to serve on President Trump’s transition team managing his Department of Energy work and some other issues within the transition team,” he said. “And that was great because we were able to give our ideas and our blueprint for how to make this country great again, and how to make American Energy great again.”

Pyle celebrated how the Trump administration has already removed “onerous” regulations like Waters of the United States (WOTUS), and restrictions on fracking on federal lands. He claimed to have played a major role in developing the Trump “American Energy Dominance” strategy. [87]

April 2, 2020

The Institute for Energy Research suggested fossil fuels were the only reliable way to power hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. IER criticized the wind industry’s requests for subsidies: [86]

“Despite the lack of reliability of wind units, the wind industry wants additional subsidies in the bills that Congress is enacting to help businesses and the economy deal with the coronavirus,: IER claimed. [86]

It concluded: “During the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. hospitals will be stressed to capacity and will need reliable electricity to run the ventilators and to otherwise keep coronavirus patients alive. Intermittent renewables, wind and solar power, do not provide reliable power 24/7, which hospitals need. Despite their intermittency and their claims that they can compete with traditional technologies, the wind and solar industries want extensions and expansions of existing subsidies to be included in the coronavirus relief bills Congress is enacting.” [86]

February 10, 2020

The Institute for Economic Research, represented by Tom Pyle, signed on to a coalition letter opposing the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a program designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector. [84]

The letter was also promoted by The Heartland Institute, who introduced it as “from many of our esteemed sister think tanks.” The letter portrays TCI as a “poorly conceived, fundamentally regressive, and economically damaging proposal.” [85]

October 8, 2019

The IER published commentary by Robert Murphy titled “The Bogus ‘Consensus’ Argument on Climate Change” rejecting the conventional wisdom that approximately 97% of scientists recognize human-induced climate change. [83]

Human activity that emits carbon dioxide,” Murphy wrote, “will make the world warmer than it otherwise would be. That observation by itself does not mean there is a crisis nor does it justify a large carbon tax.” [83]

August 2019

The Clear Energy Alliance released a video suggesting a recent article in The Guardian, which advocated for tree planting as one of the key solutions in combatting carbon emmissions, was reasoning for why “the Green New Deal and other hairbrained ideas wasting tens of trillions of your dollars can be tossed into the trashcan.” [80], [81]

The Institute for Energy Research promoted the CEA video in its newsletter and produced commentary on its website, written by Robert P. Murphy, claiming “The good news about tree planting disrupts the familiar narrative about carbon taxes that even professional economists have been feeding the public for years” and that it somehow illustrates “the danger in the traditional approach of using taxes to fix alleged market failures.” [82]

Neither CEA nor IER mention that the study’s lead researcher, Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, had emphasized the continued need to cut emissions in conjunction with any other plans to sequester carbon in newly planted trees. As The Guardian reported: “Crowther emphasised that it remains vital to reverse the current trends of rising greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and forest destruction, and bring them down to zero.” [81]

February 8, 2019

A report by IER entitled “The 100 Percent Renewable Energy Myth” declared that a goal of 100% renewable energy generation in the United States would be impossible due to the intermittency of solar and wind power and the land requirements necessary for building them out: [79]

Bottom line: setting a national goal of relying upon 100 percent renewable energy within a decade would lead to catastrophe. […] Electricity is not something with which to trifle. We take it for granted in the world’s richest and most advanced economy that things will work when we want them to work, but a 100 percent renewable plan would put that in jeopardy.” [79]

The report concluded that “intermittent wind and solar cannot stand on their own” and further warned that reliance on renewable energy infrastructure would shift dependence from foreign sources of oil to rare earth minerals from China. The report also claims that wind and solar technologies are not feasible without subsidies — without mentioning the subsidies that go to support traditional fossil fuels. [79]

February 1, 2019

IER published a commentary article by Robert P. Murphy framing the proposed Green New Deal within the context of the perceived failures of the New Deal of the 1930’s. According to Murphy, citing another article by IER president Robert Bradley Jr. a Green New Deal would lead to a dramatic uptick in unemployment along with market “chaos” as a result of overreaching government regulation and selective enforcement. [78]

More concerning, according to Murphy, would be the necessary imposition of something akin to martial law in response to the inevitable resistance to government interference in energy markets:

Expect a Green New Deal aiming to outlaw fossil-fuel usage to be a police state too, with self-interested actions towards cheaper, more reliable energies thwarting the central planners from Washington, D.C.” [78]

The commentary’s author concludes with a dire warning that a Green New Deal would ultimately result in a failed state:

[…] the proposed Green New Deal would be a giant leap on the road to serfdom. It would create the distortions and conflicts that would engender more of the same. Its slow-motion attack on wealth creation to subsidize the inefficient and a growing class of cronies would spiral the United States toward a present-day Venezuela.” [78]

January 10, 2018

In a commentary posted on their websiteIER blamed “environmentalists” and state government policies in New England and New York for increased natural gas pricing during prolonged stretches of cold weather: [77]

Environmentalists have contributed to the problem by protesting pipeline projects. … Bad policy decisions regarding limiting pipeline capacity, banning hydraulic fracturing, and shuttering coal and nuclear power plants have caused natural gas and electricity prices to spike in the Northeast when the bomb cyclone hit.” [77]

May 10, 2018

The Institute for Energy Research, represented by Thomas Pyle, was one of three signatories of an open letter to Donald Trump requesting that he follow through on a major rollback of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the auto industry. [75]

The open letter was sent amid concerns from the the auto industry that the rollback could result in a “regulatory nightmare,” with potentially years of litigation from California and a lack of regulatory certainty. Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co., said at the company’s annual meeting, “We are not asking the administration for a rollback.”  He said, “We want California at the table, and we want one national standard.” [76]

Despite this, presidential transition team members Pyle, Myron Ebell, and Shirley Ybarra pleaded with Trump, saying “You should dismiss this concern.” The letter continues: “We agree that in an ideal world, California would negotiate with you in good faith, but we all know that is not a reality in this current political climate.” Signatories also the existing mandate would mean “those consumers who prefer trucks, SUVs, or crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles.”  [76]

“These significant increases in the average price of a car or truck are a very real regressive tax on American families that make consumers poorer and the economy weaker,” Pyle, Ebell, and Ybarra wrote.  [76]

March 19, 2018

The IER released an “analysis” titled “Electric Vehicles Beware: Customers Prefer SUVs and Pick-Ups” suggesting that global emissions targets could be difficult to reach given interest in SUVs and crossovers. “Electric vehicles […] are not making much of a dent given the interest in SUVs and pick-ups,” the report claimed. [72]

The report concluded:

SUVs and pick-up trucks are increasing in demand–not just in the United States, but around the world—as car buyers are looking to more roomy and powerful vehicles. The demand for these vehicles is making governments worry about meeting their reductions targets for greenhouse gas emissions.” [72]

IER promoted the report on social media, suggesting that SUV demand is “bad news for electric vehicles.” [73] 

IER President Tom Pyle tweeted, “Own a SUV? Thank an enviro”: [74]

September 14, 2017

In its latest “analysis,” IER promoted a study suggesting that wind turbines reduce “the productivity of surrounding vegetation.”

“Wind power is not only bird-killing, noise-polluting, eyesore-causing, cost-prohibiting and vegetative-decreasing, but its intermittency leads to periods of overproduction or power shortages that necessitate reliance on traditional technologies as back-up or on costly storage technologies,” the IER report concluded. [68]

September 8, 2017

Citing climate change denier Judith Curry, IER claimed that human activity is not contributing to sea level rise: [69]

“A recent blog post by Judith Curry, ‘The Blame Game,’ put the science back into sea level—at least the best research we have now. Yes, sea level is rising, but such is also the natural state of things coming out of the Little Ice Age that ended in the mid-19th century,” The IER noted.

Curry had written at her blog Climate Etc. on August 14, 2017[70]

Sea level has been overall rising since the last ice age, with some ups and downs. Sea level has been rising for the past 200 years. […] Humans are not going to stop sea level rise on the time scale of a few centuries by ceasing emissions of CO2.” [70]

IER concluded with “good news” that “sea level rise is much more modest than false prognosticators have led us to believe. Al Gore’s worst case scenario fooled some for a time, but no more.” It adds that “Free-market adaptation, not a futile crusade to ‘stabilize’ climate, is the obvious choice for a free, prosperous world.” [70]

Note that the idea that sea level rise is a natural cycle is one of the numerous myths debunked by SkepticalScience. [71]

December 2016

IER President Thomas Pyle was chosen to head Donald Trump‘s energy transition team after Mike McKenna stepped down. [62]

Shortly before Pyle’s appointment, he had sent a memo (see full .pdf) —obtained and published by the Center for Media and Democracy—to a private email list. Pyle’s email, featuring both the Institute for Energy Research and American Energy Alliance logos in the banner, outlined “The Trump Administration’s Energy Plan,” and included 14 policy proposals such as: [63][64], [65]

  • Withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Climate agreement;
  • Increasing federal oil and natural gas leasing;
  • Lifting the coal lease moratorium;
  • Eliminating the Clean Power Plan;
  • Expediting approvals of LNG export terminals;
  • Moving forward with pipeline projects including the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline;
  • Rolling back federal fuel economy standards;
  • Ending the use of the social cost of carbon in agency rulemaking; and
  • Reconsidering the “endangerment finding” that found greenhouse gases to be a threat to public health and welfare.

June 13, 2016

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) was listed as a creditor in Peabody Energy’s 2016 bankruptcy filings, reports the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch). [58]

While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy’s financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [59]

Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRichard LindzenRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [60]

The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [61]

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

Notable organizations listed in the initial documents include:

Notable individuals named in the initial documents include the following:

December 13, 2015

Writing as a guest blogger on Watts Up With That, CFACT‘s executive director Craig Rucker denounced the latest UN climate change agreement: [39]

“This agreement will not meaningfully alter the temperature of the Earth, even under the U.N.’s own computer models.

“The bad news is that it plants the seeds of a new UN climate regime that left unchecked will swell into a bureaucratic behemoth.”

May 3, 2016

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) released a report critical of the Obama administration’s move away from coal power titled “Killing an American Industry: Coal”: [55]

“This should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. President Obama kept his promise to bankrupt coal plants, and his administration has impeded domestic natural gas, oil, and coal production at every turn,” Dan Simmons, vice president for policy of the IER, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Research shows these plant closures will harm all of us by increasing electricity costs and making it more difficult to keep energy intensive businesses in the United States. The Obama administration has never been serious about economic growth, and that won’t change as long as the president continues to shut down affordable, reliable energy production.” [56]

April 26, 2016

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) released a report titled “Exploring the Dangers of the Keep it in the Ground Campaign” detailing “some of the pitfalls and threats posed by the environmentalist ‘keep it in the ground’ campaigns,” reports the Daily Caller News Foundation. [54]

Cutting off access to the very resources that power our economy will not only raise energy costs, but also the costs of everyday products that make modern life possible for American families,” states the report.

September 1, 2015

Institute for Energy Research President Thomas Pyle issued a statement criticizing Michigan’s Governor Richard Dale Snyder for his plan to implement EPA carbon regulations: [47]

The Snyder administration’s decision to wave the white flag and implement EPA’s carbon regulation is bad news for Michigan families. The governor claims this approach ‘retains control’ for Michigan, yet the opposite is true. Implementing this regulation, when serious legal challenges persist, effectively hands over the keys to Michigan’s energy future to unelected bureaucrats in Washington. Once Gov. Snyder signs away Michigan’s control over its energy future to Obama’s EPA, there is no turning back.

Obama and EPA want states to think their only choices are to submit a state plan or have a federal plan imposed on them. Gov. Snyder has apparently fallen for this false choice. The real choice is between shielding Michigan from this harmful carbon regulation or helping President Obama carry it across the finish line as the sun sets on his presidency.

Obama’s carbon regulation is a national energy tax that will burden Michiganders, especially the poor, with higher energy prices and fewer jobs, yet will have no impact on climate change. Michigan voters made clear their stance on higher energy taxes when they overwhelmingly rejected Governor Snyder’s gas tax proposal earlier this year. The governor should listen to the citizens in his state and join the ranks of several of his fellow governors by rejecting the Obama administration’s carbon regulation.”

August 17, 2015

IER President Thomas Pyle issued a statement on the approval of Shell’s permit to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean: [57] 

“The approval of this permit is a huge victory for the American people. After fulfilling all of the requirements and investing $7 billion, Shell is finally able to begin the process of exploring these areas for vast oil resources that could make America stronger. But this is about more than finding oil. This is about investing in America’s future. The resources that lie in the Arctic will boost our energy security and ensure that American families have access to affordable energy for generations and generations to come. Americans of good will wish them luck in their search.”

August 13, 2015

The Institute for Energy Research released a report titled “The Poor and Sick Suffer Under Obama’s Carbon Rule” that claims that the EPA‘s clean power plan would “cause thousands of premature deaths in the United States.”  [13]

“The EPA relies on faulty data to make exaggerated claims about the benefits of a rule that will cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars and plunge millions of families into poverty,” the report states.

August 6, 2015

IER President Thomas Pyle published an article in Medium responding to a previous post by EPA Chief Gina McCarthy “with his own six reasons as to why states and the American people should be wary of entrusting EPA with their energy futures.” [48]

Pyle contends in his article that the EPA‘s power plan, which he entitles a “carbon agenda” will have “no impact on climate change,” will “[hurt] Americans’ health,” “relies on threats and bribes,” and “was written by the environmental lobby,” among other criticisms. [49] 

August 3, 2015

IER President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement criticizing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan[50]

The final version of President Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ is somehow more harmful than the proposed rule. It forces states to make even steeper cuts, it guts natural gas in favor of costly renewables, and it still has no effect on climate change. While the EPA touts these adjustments to the rule as a sign of ‘flexibility’, it’s really an admission that Obama needs states to do his dirty work. But state leaders shouldn’t give in to the administration’s bribery schemes. Regardless of these cosmetic changes to the rule, the fundamental flaws remain.

It’s important to remember that President Obama’s carbon regulation, the crown jewel of his climate legacy, has no impact on climate change. EPA’s own models show that their carbon rule will limit global temperature rise by a mere 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100. That’s a bad deal for the American people. State leaders should protect their citizens from Obama’s costly carbon rule by refusing to submit a plan.”

June 30, 2015

The Institute for Energy Research published a study titled “The Levelized Cost of Electricity from Existing Generation Resources” (PDF) authored by Thomas F. Stacy and George S. Taylor. [14]

Thomas Pyle writes in the Wall Street Journal that the study concludes that  “scrapping the existing coal fleet to build new generators would impose expensive and unnecessary costs—and the public would foot the bill.” [15]

November 21, 2014

IER President Thomas Pyle published an op-ed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal titled “It’s time for wind tax credit to get blown away.” Some excepts below: [51]

One of the central building blocks of the EPA’s power plant rule is increased use of wind and solar for electricity generation. But wind and solar are uncompetitive without massive taxpayer subsidies and mandated renewable portfolio standards. For wind, that takes the form of the production tax credit. […]

Congress should reject any attempt by [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid to revive the wind production tax credit in the lame-duck session. It’s clearly a bad deal for Nevadans, enriching out-of-state billionaires at the expense of working families.”

October 2013

The Institute for Energy Research released multiple reports on wind energy. According to an article fact checking the IER‘s report, the publication “overstates the actual cost of wind energy by around 100%.”

“[E]ach of IER’s attempts to add a cost to wind energy fails due to a use of obsolete data or a critical misunderstanding of how the power grid operates. We are left with the clear conclusion of third-party data and independent assessments: Wind energy’s rapidly declining costs are keeping electricity costs low for consumers,” said Michael Goggin, senior director of AWEA. [16]

April 2012

Shortly after the Senate’s vote to block a repeal on the 4 billion a year in subsidies going to oil companies, the Institute for Energy Research compiled a report attempting to disprove the Administration’s report on a point-by-point basis. 

DeSmogBlog reports how the IER‘s report is “riddled with falsehoods and inaccurate information.” [17]

March 2012

The American Energy Alliance, the political arm of IER, launched a $3.6 million ad campaign accusing President Barack Obama as being behind an increase in gas prices. The campaign was partially funded by foundations controlled by Charles and David Koch and criticizes Obama’s decision on the Keystone KL pipeline. [18]

February 7, 2012

The IER released a study titled “Impact of EPA’s Regulatory Assault on Power Plants.” The Huffington Post listed this study as one of the most frequently used studies “used by pundits and special interests to attack the Clean Power Plan.” [19], [20]

Huffington Post debunks the study and as follows:


  • The Institute for Energy Research concludes that more than 72 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity will come offline and because of the coal plants closing, consumers will be forced to pay for the “construction of higher-cost renewable generating technologies and/or natural gas units that will need massive infrastructure improvements to meet the higher demand.” 
  • Synapse Energy Economics, however, finds that when compared to a scenario where no renewable energy or efficiency policies are adopted in states (continuing coal plants online), a “clean energy future” saves households $35 per month. The clean energy future scenario Synapse uses is one that obtains a 58% emission reduction compared to the 30% in the proposed Clean Power Plan (now a 32% in the final version).  [21]

August 2011

Robert Bradley, founder and CEO of the IER, spoke at the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. [22]

The Center for Media and Democracy describes ALEC as follows:

ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC‘s operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills.

October 2009

IER ran a campaign on “green jobs” criticizing the development of renewable energy resources. IER commissioned three studies on renewable energies and green jobs in Denmark, Germany and Spain. [23] An IER press release confirmed that it had commissioned the Danish study[46]

The studies were in turn promoted by the IER in the US and by other think tanks in Europe and in Ontario, Canada. Greenpeace reported (PDF) how the Spanish study was disseminated: [24]

According to SourceWatch, the studies were conducted by a number of separate think tanks and while promoted by IER in the US, they were also used in attempt to influence policy decisions in Europe and Ontario, Canada. [33]

For example, the study on Germany was translated into German and referenced by the German media without mentioning that the study was financed by IER. The German institute that wrote the study (Rheinisch-westfaelisches Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung, or RWI) didn’t acknowledge the funding from IER until they were challenged by investigative journalists. [34]

Institute for Energy Research Contact & Location

The Institute for Energy Research shares the same address and phone numbers as its 501(C)(4) subsidiary, the American Energy Alliance (as of May, 2016): [52], [53]

1155 15th St. NW, Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20005

Phone (202) 621-2950
Fax (202) 741-9170

Media Inquiries
Chris Warren at [email protected]

Social Media


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