2006 Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) Internal Memo on Carbon Taxes and Climate Alarmism

This is a 2006 memo from Stanley R. Lewandowski, Jr., General Manager of Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), an electric distribution cooperative in Colorado which has directly and indirectly promoted climate skepticism. In the memo, Lewandowski fears the damage that a potential carbon tax would have on coal-fired power plants, from which IREA gets most of its power: “A carbon tax or a mandatory market-based greenhouse gas regulatory system would erode most, if not all, of the benefits of the coal-fired generation … a carbon tax or a mandatory cap and trade program would affect almost all G & T’s and distribution cooperatives.”

Lewandowski also challenges the legitimacy of the “alarmist” science about climate change being touted by people like Al Gore. Lewandowski voices the need to “support the scientific community that is willing to stand up against the alarmists and bring a balance to the discussion.” One such scientist he specifies is Dr. Patrick Michaels, an outspoken climate change skeptic who has significant ties to big energy interests. The memo details a $100,000 grant from IREA to Michaels to combat climate change “alarmists” in addition to other contributions from power generators and transmitters already raised (later referencing an additional $50,000). The memo also mentions a multifaceted strategy involving Michaels, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Koch Industries, Southern Company, American Electric Power (AEP), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and more:

Lewandowski emphasizes the threat posed to the electrical distribution industry by climate change alarmism, and argues that any political movement on the issue should be based on voluntary action, the inclusion of China and India in any binding regulation, the regulation of all CO2 emitters (rather than singling out power plants), and the stipulation that “the U.S. economy must not be damaged.”

The memo includes figures which Lewandowski encourages his employees to mail “to friends, relatives and acquaintances … informing your members, the local media, and local and state elected officials.” He urges their involvement, feeling that they “cannot allow the discussion to be monopolized by the alarmists.” The graphs and descriptions show tepid growth in global average temperatures over the last century, and depict current warming as part of larger normal trends. Also included are calculations projecting the Kyoto Protocol’s cost on GDP; Michaels describes the Kyoto Protocol as causing “a tremendous expense for absolutely no discernable [sic] reduction in planetary warming.”

2006 Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) Internal Memo on Carbon Taxes and Climate Alarmism (Text)

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