My colleagues Aliya Haq and Laurie Johnson recently exposed the new hack-job attacks on the Clean Power Plan by Berman and Associates, an aggressive, polluter-funded public relations firm based in Washington, DC. Berman's 'study' (really a gross attempt at stacking up worse-than-worst-case costs and ignoring the benefits) includes attacks on clean energy in Nevada and New Mexico. The reports don't say much about methodology, but as my colleague Laurie points out, there isn't much to it. It's so filled with inaccuracies and blatant falsehoods hard to know where to begin.
My question: Who asked Berman to bring his junk science out west?
New Mexico and Nevada are both in great positions to meet and beat EPA's Clean Power plan: utilities in both states have plans to retire part (in NM) or all (in NV) of their dirty coal assets over the coming years and few states have better clean energy opportunities (check out the NREL solar, wind and geothermal potential maps). Costs for wind and solar in the West are at all-time lows and both states could see huge benefits from increasing clean energy.
New Mexico and Colorado utility regulators recently approved a wind power purchase by utilities because it was cheaper than any fossil alternative.
Nevada is already exporting solar power to California and with the rise of the new joint energy market with California; it is poised to sell even more. Nevada's Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation supported by the state's largest utility to end dependence on coal and bring in more renewable energy. That legislation will make compliance with EPA's proposed standard remarkably easy.
In New Mexico the 'report' is being released by the Rio Grande Foundation, a right-wing group funded by the Koch brothers. But it's not Berman's first hit-piece in New Mexico. Last year, one of his employees published an attack on clean energy in the Albuquerque Journal. Which begs the question: who is paying Berman to attack clean energy in the west?
Berman brags about his his ability to hide his funders. The Guardian reports:
"People always ask me one question all the time: 'How do I know that I won't be found out as a supporter of what you're doing?'" Berman told a conference of energy executives last year. The talk was secretly recorded and leaked to the New York Times.
"We run all of this stuff through non-profit organisations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity. People don't know who supports us," Berman told the energy executives.
Perhaps the funders of this latest attack will remain in the dark. Fine, but let's leave their 'reports' out with the trash.