Advanced Energy Economy (AEE/ AEEI) A trade association that serves and advocates for the energy industry. The Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEEI) was cofounded by Tom Steyer and is the educational, research and funding wing of the group. AEE/AEEI supports natural gas drilling and the conversion of major energy use from coal and oil to natural gas. AEE is also a funder of CSU’s Center for a New Energy Economy headed by Former Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter.
American Lung Association (ALA) The health and environmental advocacy group says on its website that it “supports the increased use of natural gas as a transitional fuel for the production of electricity, as a cleaner alternative to biomass, coal and other fossil fuels.” It received nearly $5 million in 2012 from Sea Change, Hewlett and Schmidt Foundations via funding from the Energy Foundation. The ALA has also received the most EPA grants among environmental groups during the Obama administration, totaling 36 grants for almost $14 million between 2009-14.
Rutt Bridges A major playor in Colorado politics, Bridges is one of the four millionaires known as the Gang of Four who helped swing the state from red to blue from 2004 to 2010. He is a geophysisist who worked for Chevron before founding his own company that created software used by the oil and gas drilling industry. In 2012, Bridges wrote that natural gas “could be the low cost/low pollution energy source that provides a bridge to a better economic and environmental future.”
Center for American Progress Co-founded by former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, along with Herb Sandler, who recently contributed $1 million to Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action Committee. CAP received $2.5 million in 2010-11 from Sea Change, and received more than $7 million from the Energy Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, Tides Foundation, Marisla Foundation and more. George Soros has also given millions to CAP which has a pro-natural gas position as made clear in this statement, “natural gas has an important role to play in achieving the emissions reductions necessary to stabilize the climate and prevent the worst impacts of global warming,” and that it has economic and civic benefits.
Center for the New Energy Economy A new think-tank and research facility at Colorado State University founded and funded by Gang of Four member Pat Stryker, the Energy Foundation and other sources including Tom Steyer’s AEE and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and other unnamed donors. The Center is directed by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. The Center has published a good deal of research that supports natural gas as a bridge fuel and has even worked with oil and gas producers on projects such as water monitoring facilities near drill sites.
ClimateWorks Foundation Operating with more than $200 million annually, ClimateWorks donates significant amounts of money to groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Energy Foundation and Green Tech Action Fund. ClimateWorks is funded in part by the Hewlett Foundation and Packard Foundation. The group says on its website that “unabated coal power is our main adversary” and that it has projects designed to ensure the “long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the power and natural gas sectors.”
Colorado Democracy Alliance Formed in 2004 after Clinton Staffer Rob Stein met with Gang of Four member Rutt Bridges. The CoDA took the place of the original “roundtable” in the Colorado Model. It has been the principle driver in Colorado Democratic Party politics ever since.
Democracy Alliance Conceived by Rob Stein, former member of the Clinton Administration, the DA executes a large-scaled effort to funnel the money of wealthy donors into pro-Democratic political outcomes. The group connects billionaires and millionaires with organizations and political leaders. Membership is not made public but reported members from Colo. include Al Yates, Rutt Bridges, Tim Gill and Pat Stryker. Tom Steyer is also a member according to Politico. There are over a hundred members total. Members of the Democratic Alliance pay $30,000 in dues and pledge to contribute at least $200,000 to groups DA endorses. The DA was modeled after the Colorado Democracy Alliance.
Energy Foundation The Energy Foundation is the premier example of how money filters from big donors to small groups and political campaigns. It received $27 million from Sea Change (which does not disclose its donors) in 2010-11 as well as funds from the Hewlett, Packard, Schmidt, Sea Change and ClimateWorks Foundations. Energy Foundation then funds groups like the League of Conservations Voters, and their separate Education Fund, as well as the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council. These groups then donate to political campaigns and initiaitives. The Energy Foundation greatly supports reduction of coal and an increase in natural gas as the primary energy source, saying, “Antiquated coal power plants can be replaced by efficiency, renewables, and super-efficient natural gas power.” The group also runs a program in China with Packard Foundation to promote natural gas there. Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter sits on the Board.
Environment America Ostensibly an environmental advocacy group, Environment America is funded by Sea Change Foundation, Green Tech Action Fund Parnership Project and others. EA and its Colorado affiliate Environment Colorado have been vocal supporters of Colorado’s Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act and the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan modeled on CACJ. Both plans call for replacing coal with natural gas and renewables in power generation. Despite this support for natural gas the organization routinely releases anti-fracking reports.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) EDF sets up affiliate nonprofits and funds political initiatives and candidates. It received $8.2 million from Sea Change, Hewlett and Packard Foundations via the Energy Foundation in 2012. Its single largest funder is billionaire former hedge fund manager Julian Robertson who has millions invested in natural gas infastructure. EDF has a long history of supporting natural gas and it’s stated policy is: “Natural gas is an important and growing part of our nation’s energy portfolio. It emits less greenhouse gases than coal when combusted and avoids mercury and other dangerous air pollutants that come from coal. It could be a win-win if — and this is a big if — we do it the right way.” Pro-fracking Michael Bloomgerg gave EDF $6 million to push best practices for fracking saying at the time, “It’s too important to screw up.”
Tim Gill Gill is one of the Gang of Four who turned colorado blue in 2004. Gill made his fortune when he sold his software company which had developed the publishing software Quark. Gill, who is openly gay, has spent many millions of dollars in his fight for gay rights. He is a member of Democracy Alliance and is the largest spender when it comes to Colorado elections. He often works closely with Ted Trimpa.
Green Tech Action Fund With no real presence — no website, phone number, etc. — Green Tech Action Fund acts as a pass-through for bigger funders. It is affiliated with the Energy Foundation, from whom it receives millions in funding and passes funds along to groups like Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Environment America.
Hal Harvey Harvey connects the Hewlett Foundation (environmental program director, 2002-08), the Energy Foundation (president, 1991- 2002) and the ClimateWorks Foundation (founder, 2008-11). He also co-chaired the Risky Business Project with Henry Paulson, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. Harvey outlined how to promote a natural gas future to the Harris School of Public Policy last year, saying, “These are the things you must do if you want natural gas to be a bridge to the future. And it could be. Natural gas has a lot of advantages.”
Heinz Family Foundation Among other causes, the Heinz Foundation funds environmental initiatives, including Environmental Health News. Until recently, the group was headed by Robert Vagt, an executive at natural gas pipeline company Kinder Morgan, in which Tom Steyer also recently held investments.
Hewlett Foundation With more than $7 billion in assets, Hewlett is one of the biggest donors to environmental causes and, indirectly, political candidates. The Hewlett Foundation donated $600,000 to EDF between 2011-13, $375,000 to LCV Education Fund 2012-13, $2,425,000 to NRDC 2012-13 as well as $2.5 million to Sierra Club between 2011- 2013. The Foundation states that a primary goal is to “Reduce demand and restrict infrastructure for high carbon fuels (tar sands, oil shale, coal),” without mentioning natural gas. The group’s environmental program officer is Matt Baker, former commissioner of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, natural gas advisor, and executive director of Environment Colorado, a subset of Environment America.
John Hickenlooper Democratic Governor of Colorado who has enacted and supported numerous pieces of legislation supporting natural gas, including a bill that gives tax credits to fleets of trucks that switch to natural gas. He also was the principle in the compromise that kept two anti-fracking measures off the 2014 ballot. A former geologist, Hickenlooper has stated repeatedly that natural gas can be extracted cleanly and it is important to Colorado’s economy to drill in the state. In his 2012 State of the State address, Hickenlooper said, “We also start the year with the country’s strongest and fairest rule disclosing the ingredients in the ‘fracking’ process. Suffice it to say that this is a drilling procedure that has opened the door to a whole new era of energy development that can lead to more jobs, cleaner air and energy security for our country and the world.”
Klein Ltd. A Bermuda-based company (with no public presence) that funds environmental groups via Sea Change. Klein accounts for between 33 and 50 percent of Sea Change’s annual funding – from $10 to $13 million a year.
League of Conservation Voters A primary funder of political and environmental campaigns and initiatives, LCV received $12.3 million in 2012 from Sea Change and the Hewlett Foundation via the Energy Foundation. LCV also recived $10.7 million from Sea Change in 2010-11. The group has an affiliated nonprofit used to fund political campaigns called the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, which received $9 million from Sea Change in 2010-11 and about $3 million combined from the Marisla Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Tides Foundation and the Energy Foundation between 2010-12. The LCV has run into controversy with board members tied to oil and gas companies. It is an outspoken supporter of Clean Air, Clean Jobs and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan that replace coal with natural gas and renewables.
Marisla Foundation Operating with more than $50 million in 2012, it is one of the biggest funders of environmental groups. It contributed to the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which criticized oil refineries, and Virginia Organizing, an anti-fracking group.
The (Gordon and Betty) Moore Foundation Founded by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, this foundation is one of the largest in the country and gives grants to many environmental, civic and health groups and initiatives. Despite making few public comments on natural gas, the Moore Foundation has listed investments with several oil and gas companies in the past few years, including $4 million in Natural Gas Partners, a capital management firm.
Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) A major funder of political and environmental campaigns and initiatives, the NRDC received $20.5 million from ClimateWorks, Sea Change, Hewlett, Schmidt and Packard Foundations in 2012. It also received a $1.8 million grant from the EPA between 2009-14. The NRDC states on its website:
“Because power plants burning natural gas produce less air pollution than coal-burning plants, in the near term natural gas can actually serve to diminish a number of public health threats caused by generating electricity.”
National Wildlife Federation Receives funding from Sea Change, donors and EPA grants and funds environmental and political campaigns and intiatives. The NWF’s website states, “a number of actions [are available] to ensure that the development of unconventional natural gas resources is pursued in an environmentally responsible manner.”
Packard Foundation Operating with more than $6 billion in assets in 2012, Packard Foundation funds Energy Foundation, which funds Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, Green Teach Action Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council and more. William Reilly, who stepped down as director of the Packard Foundation in July, said in a keynote address to the Bipartisan Institute in 2013 that “The path ahead for new power is clear and it’s mostly gas. (And plentiful gas is a godsend)” and that “Fracked gas is helping the country reduce its CO2 emissions.”
Park Foundation A major funder of environmental groups, Park Foundation helps financially support Sustainable Market Foundation and Food and Water Watch. It often funds in concert with the Schmidt and Tides Foundations. It is run by Adelaide Park Gomer, a vocal critic of fracking.
John Podesta Podesta is Bill Clinton’s former Chief of Staff. In 2003 he co-founded the Center for American Progress with seed money from George Soros. CAP is a think tank with a pro-natural gas view and supports replacing coal with gas and renewables. It is funded by the Tides and Energy Foundations (among others). Podesta told reporters in 2014 that, “If you oppose all fossil fuels and you want to turn that switch off tomorrow, that is a completely impractical way of moving toward a clean-energy future,” and he also wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal hailing natural gas as a viable bridge fuel.
Jared Polis Polis is a Democratic U.S. Representative from Boulder. On Aug. 4, 2014, he effectively killed 2 anti-fracking ballot measures by pulling his finacial support in exchange for a compromise with Gov. John Hickenlooper. Polis was one the Gang of Four who helped flip the state blue in 2004. Polis is the first openly gay member of Congress. Polis was an original member of the board for ProgressNow along with Ted Trimpa, Wes Boyd and Rob McKay, chairman of the Democracy Alliance.
ProgressNow What began as a grassroots activist network in Colorado that emerged from the “roundtable” has become a political juggernaut with affiliates in more than 20 states. Michael Huttner was the group’s first executive director. ProgressNow was critical to turning Colorado blue in 2004 and it has now been turned into a national model to help Democrats gain majorities in other states.
William Reilly Reilly served as EPA Administrator from 1989-93, and as the President of World Wildlife Fund, Chairman of the Board of ClimateWorks Foundation and Director of the Packard Foundation. Also a ConocoPhillips director, he was appointed by Barack Obama to investigate the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In a keynote address to the Bipartisan Policy Center in 2013, Reilly said, “Fracked gas is helping the country reduce its CO2 emissions,” and “In terms of serious and sustained carbon emissions reductions in the power sector, the best opportunities in my view are in renewables, consumer energy efficiency, and natural gas.”
Bill Ritter Ritter is the former Governor of Colorado and current Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. Ritter helped push through the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act in 2010 that effectively put Big Coal out of business by mandating energy producers switch from coal to natural gas and calling for new natural gas facilities to be built. Ritter is outspoken in his support of natural gas, writing in the Huffington Post in 2011: “…I’m such a strong advocate for the important role natural gas must play in America’s clean energy future. Colorado is blessed with abundant gas reserves. Its production has been a critical part of our economy for years, providing good jobs and economic opportunities throughout our state. It’s the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, emitting far less carbon and other dangerous pollutants than coal.” Ritter also sits on the board of Tom Steyer’s Advanced Energy Economy Institute.
Rockefeller Brothers Foundation / Rockefeller Family Fund Two of many charitable groups from the Rockefeller family, which made its money off of John D. Rockefeller’s lucrative oil investments in the early 20th century. The groups gave half a million dollars to the League of Conservation Voters Fund between 2010-14, and has a hand in public policy with former employees circling through the EPA and back to the Funds. Despite claiming the funds would divest from fossil fuels, a Politico article published Sept. 26 stated the Rockefellers were still debating whether to stay in natural gas and Rockefeller Brothers Foundation President Stephen Heintz told Politico, “Natural gas, as long as it’s extracted in ways that are environmentally careful, is an attractive bridge fuel.
Schmidt Family Foundation Major funder of environmental groups, the Schmidt Foundation has given millions to the American Lung Association, Natural Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club and Energy Foundation. It also gives funds to Food and Water Watch and the Sustainable Markets Foundation. Schmidt often funds in concert with the Park and Tides Foundations. They recently published a study that exposed health risks to those who live near fracking sites. It announced in early 2014 that it would divest from fossil fuels including natural gas. The group was founded by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google.
Sea Change A major cog in the nonprofit funding system, Sea Change is funded half by private donors and half by Klein Ltd., an offshore group that does not disclose donors. Sea Change is a major funder of the Energy Foundation, providing about 15 percent of the group’s funding in 2011. Sea Change also gave $9 million to the League of Conservation Voters Fund in 2010-14, which donated to political campaigns and initiatives. Sea Change also helps fund the Sierra Club, NRDC, EDF, American Lung Association, National Wildlife Federation and more. With no public presence, light was shed on the organization in a 2014 Senate report that showed the group’s founder and president are Nat Simons and James Simons, major investors in the energy economy.
Sierra Club A major environmental group, Sierra Club received $15 million from the Hewlett, Packard and Schmidt Foundations via the Energy Foundation in 2012. They also received $6.9 million from Sea Change in 2010-11. The group was also heavily criticized for accepting $25 million from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, one of the biggest natural gas producers in the country. Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign has been a driving force in the power generation industry’s switch from coal to natural gas. Sierra Club has since nuanced its position by stating that if natural gas can’t be done cleanly, it should not be done at all, however it reported donations from ExxonMobil, Chevron and Duke Energy in 2012 and it has also taken $50 million dollars from fracking enthusiast Michael Bloomberg.
Tom Steyer Steyer is a billionaire who made a fortune investing in fossil fuels. He has since turned to large-scale philanthropy. A member of the Democracy Alliance, Steyer has had his hand in many political campaigns and initiatives. He co-founded American Energy Economy, a trade organization that supports natural gas drilling, and Next Generation, a research and policy group. Steyer has said on numerous occasions that he supports natural gas, saying in a 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, “…Natural gas, which, if developed safely and responsibly, could help bridge our energy present to our energy future.” He also founded two institutes at Stanford University: the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy. Steyer has pledged to give Democrats $100 million for the 2014 election cycle making him the party’s largest funder.
Pat Stryker A Colorado billionaire who helped turned the state blue in 2004 as a member of the Gang of Four. Stryker is a member of the Democracy Alliance and was also one of three originalfunders of the pro-natural gas Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State.
Tides Inc. / Tides Foundation / Tides Center Tides received $135 million in funding in 2012 from the Hewlett, Schmidt, Sea Change, Marisla and Energy Foundations. It funded the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Lousiana Bucket Briagde (an anti-oil group) and Bold Nebraska, among others. The Tides Foundation and Tides Center, which are separate groups under the Tides umbrella, were found to be transferring millions of dollars between each other for no apparent reason other than to muddy money trails, according to a 2014 Senate report. In recent years, Tides Foundation is one of the few foundations funding research into fracking and the impact of escaping methane on global warming.
Ted Trimpa Trimpa is a well-known political figure and lobbyist in Colorado and Washington D.C. He has worked closely with software billionaire Ted Gill, one of the Gang of Four, for many years. Trimpa’s clients include oil and gas companies Noble Energy and Encana. He was credited as being a principle player in bringing together the unusal coalition that passed the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act in 2010, a move that likely squelched an ugly election battle funded by the oil and gas industry. Trimpa is or has been a board member for Demcacy Alliance, ProgrssNow and Thirdway, a think tank with a pro natural gas position. Trimpa has led numerous efforts in support of gay rights.
Wallace Global Fund Has funded 350.org, Sustainable Markets Foundation, Center for American Progress, Center for Biological Diversity, Union of Concerned Scientists, the Tides Center, Sierra Club, Virginia Organizing, Greenpeace, Media Matters, Earth Justice, and the Environmental Integrity Project. The Wallace Global Fund was one of many organizations to announce this year that it would divest from fossil fuels, including natural gas.