In 1996, the prospect of a mandatory treaty was looming and the GCC wanted to expand its reach, engaging more purposefully in the climate change dialogue on the ground in the U.S. In a newly published GCC Board of Directors memo, “The Coalition’s Strategy in 1997,” outlined the GCC’s targeted plan and new State and Local Committee. The memo stated the following:
“GCC strategy must include broad based grassroots effort designed to present a balanced view on the climate issue an the state and local levels. The Coalition has formed a new State and Local Committee to monitor activities now occurring in individual states, to coordinate the state/local activities of all GCC committees, and to serve as a liaison with other business and public interest groups with similar views on climate change.”
One year later, in a 1997 Mother Jones article titled “Astroturf Troopers,” another internal memo was revealed showing the plan coming to fruition. In conjunction with an advertising campaign, the GCC’s Susan Moya penned a memo briefing its membership about a planned “Strike for Liberty” Kyoto Protocol protest, promising their “stateside” spokespeople daily updates from the negotiations, and attaching a list of media contacts and “In the States – Grassroots” allies.
Those contacts were comprised of several organizations from the now infamous Koch network, front groups and organizations created and funded by industry members of the GCC, and organizations from the pro-property rights, anti-regulatory “Wise Use” movement. The following list demonstrates those connections:
- Three GCC grassroots contacts were members of the Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). CSE was a conservative political group established by Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. It received millions in funding from Charles and his network. In 2004, CSE split into Americans for Prosperity (AfP) and FreedomWorks;
- Frontiers of Freedom Institute (FoF), another “grassroots” ally, was also a recipient of funds from the Charles Koch Foundation. FoF received more than one million dollars in contributions from GCC Member ExxonMobil;
- Consumers for Vehicle Choice (CVC), a now-defunct automobile industry advocacy group established by GCC member, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), availed eight of its employees to GCC’s grassroots effort. AAM simultaneously ran attack ads, criticizing the Kyoto Protocol. AAM CVC was funded through a $500,000 grant to veteran science denial PR firm E. Bruce Harrison & Cowas. E. Bruce Harrison also advised the GCC;
- Coal and rail interests were represented by the coal and utility front group, The Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED). CEED’s founding president, John Snow, worked for the CSX Corporation, an active member of the GCC. Many utility and coal mining members of CEED were also members of the GCC. In 2008, CEED and another front group, Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, consolidated to become the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity which exists to this day.
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