The Intelligencer is once again shilling for the fossil fuel industry - this time in its lead editorial, "Ohio Right on Renewables." The editorial begins:
Renewable portfolio standards were quite trendy for state governments a while back. In fact, 30 states now have in place mandates that require greater use of energy sources such as wind or solar. But it appears Ohio has made the right move in suspending its RPS.
"Renewable portfolio standards have been vogue for the last 10 or so years, but nobody's really taken a hard look at what the effects are of these things in the wider economy," Ryan Yonk told Watchdog.org. "Our results show strong, negative effects."
Yonk is one of the authors of a report by the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University, which showed the RPS would cost Ohio electricity customers as much as $1.92 billion between now and 2026.
If you do a little research you will find:
1. The research was done by the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University which has ties to the Koch brothers. If you go to the study itself, you will see that it was published online by an organization called Strata which also has numerous connections to the Kochs. (It hosts Koch speakers and handles the Koch scholarships for students.)
2. Utah State is ranked fifth among U.S. universities in the amount of money it gets from the Koch brothers.
3. Two of the authors are Ryan Yonk (quoted in the editorial) and Randy Simmons who have major conflicts-of-interest on this subject. Here is what the Salt Lake City Weekly said about them:
The first of the two firms, Strata Policy, is run by Randy Simmons and Ryan Yonk. Both Simmons and Yonk teach at Utah State University, an institution that receives $170,000 per year (the fifth highest in the nation) in donations from the conservative Koch brothers. Until 2013, Simmons was listed as the school's Charles G. Koch Professor of Political Science, and he oversees the Koch Scholars program. (A number of USU students—working for Strata—will be brought in to work on the contract.) Simmons also serves as a senior fellow at the Koch- and ExxonMobil-funded Property & Environment Research Center.
In addition to his work at USU, Yonk has written several working papers for the Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank whose founder has received more than $30 million from the Kochs.
The Weekly also notes that Simmons and Yonk co-wrote another study earlier this year that argued that the 2008 financial crisis was caused by . . . you guessed it -- renewable energy.
The editorial would have us believe that the study was scientific and unbiased noting that it was "peer-reviewed." The Strata website says that they use a "double-blind review process." I'm a bit skeptical. So were a number of critics who responded to a similar article by one of the study's authors, Randy Simmons, which appeared in Newsweek in April. Simmons' article asked "what's the true cost of wind power?" (You can probably guess his answer.) Newsweek originally, not unlike our local "newspaper," hid the author's connections to the Koch empire. After receiving a significant number of complaints, Newsweek eventually added a disclaimer:
Editor’s note: The author of this piece, Randy Simmons, is the Charles G. Koch professor of political economy at Utah State University. He’s also a senior fellow at the Koch- and ExxonMobil-funded Property and Environment Research Center. These ties to the oil industry weren’t originally disclosed in this piece.
Of course, Newsweek is concerned about its reputation and doesn't want to appear biased; the magazine's editors may even care about being truthful. It's a different story for the Wheeling "newspapers." They're a monopoly and the truth is relevant only if it's convenient. I'm sure they doubt any reader will actually check the original source which makes it a lot easier to propagandize for the extraction industry.
Here's a short video that explains how this works.