AP Fails To Disclose Anti-EPA Group's Ties To Oil And Coal Industry

An Associated Press article about the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed regulations to cut carbon emissions failed to disclose that Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a source it cited criticizing the proposal, is a front group for the Koch brothers that routinely makes false attacks against clean energy initiatives.

A June 2 AP article reported that Colorado could serve as a model for reducing carbon emissions while handling its energy needs, following comments from the Obama Administration and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO). The article cited Dustin Zvonek, the Colorado director of Americans for Prosperity, which the outlet described as a group “which warns the EPA's rules would cost billions and lead to higher energy costs,” but failed to mention the organization's oil industry funding:

“There's still a lot to be clarified,” said Dustin Zvonek, Colorado director of the group Americans For Prosperity, which warns the EPA's rules would cost billions and lead to higher energy costs. Zvonek said Colorado's action to cut carbon emissions may have only prompted an even lower bar to meet.

“Are we going to be penalized or punished for the fuel-switching standard and therefore take an even bigger hit? That's not clear,” Zvonek said.

Among AFP's major supporters are brothers David and Charles Koch, their charitable foundations and their company, Koch Industries, Inc., which has significant operations in oil and gas exploration and coal supply and trading. A 2012 report by the International Forum on Globalization explained that the Koch brothers have used their wealth to attempt to block legislation or rules aimed at mitigating the damage climate change is causing.

Greenpeace reported that AFP has received nearly $6 million from Koch-affiliated groups from 2005-2011.

AFP has used this funding to mislead the public about the effects of climate change and initiatives designed to combat it. For example, as Greenpeace points out, AFP launched a 2010 tour aimed at stifling EPA regulations by “falsely alleging that the EPA would regulate individual consumers” for doing things like “mowing their lawns or filling gas tanks.”

In keeping with their misinformation campaign, AFP Colorado cited a flawed study by the Chamber of Commerce in its press release on the current EPA regulations to justify the cost claims it made to AP. However, even the Chamber of Commerce has acknowledged that its study assumed far stricter and costlier limits than those actually proposed. Furthermore, environmental analysts dispute AFP's claim that Colorado may be particularly “penalized or punished,” under the proposed standards because Colorado is already is on a path towards cutting carbon emissions and the plan gives states flexibility in deciding how to cut emissions.