Simon Lomax

Simon R. Lomax

Credentials

  • B.A., Journalism, Queensland University of Technology. [1]

Background

Simon R. Lomax is an Australian-born journalist. After earning a degree in journalism at Queensland University of Technology, Lomax immigrated to the United States in 2002. He moved to Washington as an energy and environment reporter for Argus Media in 2004 where he has written articles favorable to the fossil fuel industry. He has worked on a contract basis with the Independence Institute as an associate energy policy analyst since late 2015. [1]

Since transitioning from primarily journalism to advocacy in 2012, Simon Lomax has contributed to a western United States fossil fuel industry network with the Western Energy Alliance at its center. The Western Energy Alliance is made up of more than 300 oil and gas drilling companies as well as banking and financial institutions and industry consultants. According to their website, the group supports “policies encouraging job growth, investment and timely access to western federal lands.” As of 2010, Western Energy Alliance advertised membership benefits as including “A professional staff monitoring and influencing regulatory and legislative actions” and “access to special events with regulators and legislators.” [2], [27]

Lomax has also worked for FTI Consulting, and Energy In Depth. In the past seven years, nearly all of the groups he works with have financial and personnel ties to the Western Energy Alliance and promote fossil fuel deregulation.

Lomax has regularly contributed op-eds, media appearances, and Congressional testimonies with a strong focus on advocacy for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) deregulation and criticism of environmental groups and policies. Since 2015, Lomax has also been active in opposing anti-fracking efforts in Western states like California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Champion for the “Fracking” Industry

In January 2015 Lomax wrote an op-ed titled “New York Fracking Ban Throws Peer Review Under the Bus,” where he claimed studies supporting the fracking ban were “actually peer-reviewed by active opponents of shale gas development who concealed their bias from the scientific community and the general public” and an attempt to “subvert the peer-review process.” [3]

In March, Lomax followed up with a Financial Times piece—one of a series of op-eds and media appearances in spring 2015 in which Lomax argued New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hydraulic fracturing ban was an example of “junk science” or were examples of poor peer review. [4]

Just over one month after penning a piece in the Financial Times, Lomax was a witness to a hearing before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the House of Representatives entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing: Banning Proven Technologies on Possibilities Instead of Probabilities.” The Committee was chaired by Lamar Smith. [5]

In his 2015 testimony, where he represented Energy In Depth, Lomax discussed his group’s white paper “A Look inside New York’s Anti-Fracking Echo Chamber,” which criticized New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ban on Marcellus shale fracking. “Governor Cuomo’s decision was completely at odds with earlier findings from state and Federal environmental regulators,” Lomax claimed. [5]

Lomax has portrayed the environmental movement opposing fracking as elite, with an example being his consistent criticism of billionaire-environmentalist and political contributor Tom Steyer. Lomax is quoted in 2017 Washington Times article, declaring that, “Tom Steyer isn’t just bad at politics; he’s the biggest loser of the past two election cycles”; a 2014 Energy In Depth piece written by Lomax is titled, “Anti-Fracking Activism: A Game for Millionaires and Billionaires (like Tom Steyer).” [6], [7], [8]

Lomax has also criticized former Boulder Congressman and current Colorado Governor Jared Polis. Lomax has called Polis’s opposition of hydraulic fracturing “radical” and called him out for teaming up with “fringe environmental groups.” [9]

Stance on Climate Change

Since his Twitter account’s conception in winter 2017, Lomax has not once mentioned the terms “climate change” or “global warming.” He also does not appear to have mentioned it in his editorial pieces.

Divestment

January 23, 2017

In a statement to CBS News, Lomax criticized a student activism campaign calling for divestment: [10]

 “There are more than 11,000 students at DU and just a handful of them walked out of class today. That tells you the fossil-fuel divestment campaign, which is run by 350.org in New York, has almost no traction with DU students at all. We hope DU sees through the 350.org divestment campaign. It’s a costly political stunt that will hurt DU students and faculty without doing anything – on campus or off campus – to lower carbon emissions.”

Key Quotes

July 2016

Speaking of climate litigation efforts by state Attorneys General against oil companies including ExxonMobil, Lomax said on an episode of “Devil’s Advocate” with John Caldera: [11]

Lomax: “Let me start with the bad news. So, the bad news is there’s a group of Democratic attorneys general at the state level who have basically decided they want to use their law enforcement powers to go after people who disagree with the Obama climate agenda and especially the Clean Power Plan.

So, basically, their legal theory is that if you disagree with them on climate change, that’s fraud, and therefore the First Amendment no longer applies to you.”

Jon Caldara: “Make sure I got this clear: [if] you disagree with climate change, you’re not wrong, your fraudulent.”

Lomax: “You’re fraudulent.”

Caldara: “It’s not like, let’s argue, this, let’s argue that. No; you’re fraudulent and you need to be brought to justice.”

Lomax: “Right. Therefore, they can subpoena you, they can demand you turn over documents, emails, phone records, all that kind of thing. So that’s the bad news. Now the good news is that this effort is really kind of falling apart. It’s not going the way they hoped.”

Caldara: “I want this to keep going because it’s just hysterical.”

Key Deeds

July 2016

In an episode of “Devil’s Advocate,” an Independence Institute talk show featuring President John Caldera and Lomax, the pair attacked climate litigation efforts by state Attorneys General against organizations like ExxonMobil, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute. [11]

The discussion, which from the offset describes climate change as a “raging debate,” frames climate accountability litigation as an environmentalist assault on free speech: “If you disagree with them on climate change, then that’s fraud, and the first amendment no longer applies to you,” Lomax explained.

Affiliations

  • Independence Institute — Associate energy policy analyst (contract). [1]
  • Western Wire (project of Western Energy Alliance) — Managing editor, as of 2017. [12]
  • Energy in Depth — Former research director. Energy in Depth is a project of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). [13]
  • Divestment Facts — Has been described as an adviser and spokesperson. [14], [15]
  • The Complete Colorado Former columnist. [16]
  • Vital for Colorado — Research fellow, hired in May 2017 after working for FTI Consulting. [17]
  • FTI Consulting — Managing director (2012 – 2017). [12]
  • energyNOW! — Editorial director (2011 – Present). [18]
  • Bloomberg — Reporter (2009 – 2011). [18]
  • Argus Media — Editor, DC Office from 2004 to 2006 and senior editor from 2007 to 2009. Argus Media “provides price indexes, business intelligence and market data for the global energy and commodities markets, including crude oil, oil, [and] coal,” according to its website. Lomax’s LinkedIn profile describes his role at Argus as a mix of writing, editing, hosting TV events, and representing the firm at conferences. [19][18]
  • American Political Science Association — Congressional fellow (2006 – 2007) where he acted as an energy-policy and communications adviser to U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD). [18]
  • The Commercial Dispatch — City editor (2002 – 2004). [18]
  • The Courier-Mail — Reporter (1999 – 2002). [18]
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads, Maritime Safety Queensland — Researcher (1997 – 1999). [18]

Independence Institute

Since 2015, Lomax has been as an associate energy policy analyst with the Independence Institute, a Colorado-based libertarian think tank with a stated mission “to empower individuals and to educate citizens, legislators and opinion makers about public policies that enhance personal and economic freedom.” The organization, described by its President, John Caldera, as a sister organization to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, received $141,000 from Koch foundations between 2000 and 2006, has received $1.42 million from the NRA, and has been funded by organizations such as Donors Trust, the Adolf Coors Foundation, and oil corporations including Chevron and Mobil. [20][11][21], [22]

Energy In Depth

Lomax has served as research director and western director for the oil-industry- funded Energy In Depth, a media project of the Independent Petroleum Institute of America (IPAA) and FTI Consulting. [1][23], [24]

Western Wire

Lomax serves as the managing editor of Western Wire, a news service established by Western Energy Alliance in 2017 that regularly publishes artilces in favor of the fossil fuel industry. According to E&E News, Western Wire’s website expresses that support for the fossil fuel industry, “Runs deep throughout western communities. But those voices don’t get the same attention as the well-organized minority of opposition groups. So we decided to do something about it.” [12]

Vital For Colorado

Lomax was hired as a research fellow at Vital For Colorado in 2017, described by DeSmog as “a well-funded and highly active pro-fracking front group.” Vital For Colorado produces pledges and newspaper pieces with messages like “say no to anti-fracking regulations”. One run in Pueblo and Grand Junction in March 2014 read, “Don’t be fooled […] under the guise of local control, special interests are trying to create energy chaos in Colorado.” [17], [25], [26] 

Divestment Facts

Lomax is an adviser and spokesperson to the IPAA project Divestment Facts, a platform established in response to a 2015 campaign of student environmental activism at Denver University calling for the university’s divestment from fossil fuels. [14], [15]

Social Media

Publications

According to his profile at the Independence Institute, Lomax is regularly quoted or has written as a guest columnist in news sources such as Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Fox News, National Review, Politico, The Hill, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, Forbes, The Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Financial Post. [1]

Some sample publications below:

Below are Simon Lomax’s publications listed at Energy in Depth:

Resources

  1. Simon Lomax,” Independence Institute. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/c5rJR
  2. The Alliance,” Western Energy Alliance. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Zu47K
  3. Simon Lomax. “New York Fracking Ban Throws Peer Review Under the Bus,” Breaking Energy, January 14, 2015. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/iHqWS
  4. Junk Science Week 2015: New York’s phoney fracking ban,” Financial Post, March 3, 2015. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/tH5hh
  5. HYDRAULIC FRACTURINGBANNING PROVEN TECHNOLOGIES ON POSSIBILITIES INSTEAD OF PROBABILITIES,” House Hearing, 114th Congress, via U.S. Government Publishing Office, April 23, 2015. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/SupRU
  6. Simon Lomax. “LOMAX: Billionaire poised to bankroll another round of green politics in Colorado,” Colorado Politics, January 31, 2018. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/VoCG4
  7. “’The biggest loser’: Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer spent $88 million on Democrats in 2016,” The Washington Times, January 4, 2017. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/AI3Fa
  8. COLORADO ANTIFRACKING ACTIVISM: A GAME FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES (LIKE TOM STEYER),” Energy in Depth, April 30, 2014. Archived August 15. 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/35Pfj
  9. Lomax: Don’t Get Fooled Again By Anti-Fracking Congressman Jared Polis,” The Complete Colorado, January 29, 2016. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Qz3WM
  10. DU Students, Faculty Walk Out For ‘Climate Justice’,” CBS Denver, January 23, 2017. Archived August 15, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/04Yff
  11. You Could 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.
  12. Pamela King. “Western energy group launches publication,” E&E News. January 25, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  13. Mary Esch. “U.S. Insurer Won’t Cover Gas Drill Fracking Exposure,” Claims Journal, July 16, 2012. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/RME59
  14. Industry, Academics and Experts Agree DU Divestment Is ‘Distracting’,” Divestmentfacts.com, August 30, 2016. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URL:https://archive.fo/hH1t9
  15. DU Students, Faculty Walk Out For ‘Climate Justice’,” CBS Denver, January 23, 2017. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/04Yff
  16. VITAL for Colorado – Simon Lomax,” Colorado Business Roundtable. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/THoiX
  17. (Press Release). “VITAL FOR COLORADO HIRES SIMON LOMAX AS NEW RESEARCH FELLOW,” Vital for Colorado, May 16, 2017. Archived November 8, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/c2Za3
  18. Simon Lomax,” LinkedIn. Accessed July 13, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  19. Argus Media homepage. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/E3iiL
  20. About II,” Independence Institute. Archived September 12, 2018. Archive URLhttps://archive.fo/JG90X
  21. Independence Institute,” Greenpeace. Accessed July 8, 2019.
  22. The Times Have Finally (Quietly) Outed NRA-Funded ‘Independent’ Scholar,” The Progressive. April 23, 2014. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/Jzvgn
  23. Brendan DeMelle. “‘Energy In Depth’ Was Created By Major Oil and Gas Companies According To Industry Memo,” DeSmogBlog. February 11, 2011.
  24. Connor Gibson. “Big Oil Front Group Poured Millions Into Lobby Against Fracking Regulation,” Polluter Watch. February 18, 2011.
  25. Josh Penry and Kristin Strohm: First Couple of Colorado Fracking Front Groups,” DeSmogBlog. October 21, 2014.
  26. Anne Landman. “New Business Coalition Forms in Colorado to Fight Anti-Fracking Movement,” DeSmogBlog. March 14, 2014.
  27. General Membership BenefitsWestern Energy Alliance. Archived October 5, 2010. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/gj86t

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