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Study Questions Tax Dollars Used in Climate Scheme

Study Questions Tax Dollars Used in Climate Scheme

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State taxpayer dollars may have been diverted by the staff of the Western Governors Association - against the wishes of many WGA Governors - to help pay for a climate tax scheme written largely by California environmental activists that would dramatically increase families' energy costs, according to the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union.

NTU has sent all Western Governors a letter on the findings of its investigation, which raised "serious questions about the use of taxpayer funds in this effort from states that did not agree to partner" in the project.

NTU's letter to Western Governors on the WCI is available online at

The several-month investigation was based on voluminous documents released by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Paul Chesser of the non-profit Climate Strategies Watch (CSW). CSW subsequently made the information available to NTU.

"As an organization that receives tax dollars from both state and federal sources, WGA has a responsibility to operate with full transparency and public disclosure in terms of its fiscal activities, where it receives its funding and how and where it spends those funds," NTU President Duane Parde wrote to the Governors. "According to these documents ... WGA actively aligned itself with this effort and became intimately involved in a support role for the WCI's mission and objectives. It is difficult to see how tax dollars from non-WCI states did not subsidize this process."

WCI is a collaborative effort among the Governors of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Montana that spent the last year-and-a-half developing a proposed Western regional carbon "cap-and-trade" scheme. While the work of the WCI was done in the name of those states' Governors, the WCI process was heavily influenced, and funded in part, by large "corporate-style" environmental groups and foundations.

NTU's investigation uncovered a wide range of evidence that the WCI was largely run by staff of the Western Governors' Association, even though the majority of states in the WGA (Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas) specifically elected not to support the use of their tax dollar contributions in the project.

Even if it hasn't publicly sanctioned WCI on behalf of all its members, Parde argued that WGA's "deep involvement in the process gives the impression of the organization's support for the research, modeling methodologies and policy recommendations that have emerged from WCI's activities."


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