Quantcast
Popular

Anti-Elon Musk Campaign Has Big Ties to Big Energy

Elon Musk is being targeted by the conservative political action committee, Citizens for the Republic. The group's so-called Sunlight Project is behind an incendiary lobbying campaign and website called, "Stop Elon Musk from Failing Again," with a mission of divesting the Tesla/SpaceX/SolarCity boss from federal clean energy subsidies.

Musk himself has tweeted about the recent rash of attacks.

According to the Washington Examiner, the campaign was launched a few days before Tesla's recently approved merger with sister company SolarCity.

"The Musk empire appears to be nothing more than a collection of failing startups and plummeting stock options," Citizens for the Republic said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "Even the once-touted SolarCity had to be bought out by Tesla" to survive.

"Following the victory of President-elect Donald Trump and a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, government corruption and spending abuse at all levels must end," the group added in reference to Musk's subsidies.

The "Stop Elon" website is a giant hit piece on Musk's several companies and his endeavors. Its about page states:

"Elon Musk has defrauded the American Taxpayer out of over $4.9 Billion in the form of subsidies, grants, and other favors. We are challenging not just Elon, but the entire culture of corporations making billions of dollars off of the American people for almost zero return to the consumer. CEO's like Musk are taking advantage of Americans, and it is our intention to end their free ride."

The $4.9 billion figure stems from a debunked Los Angeles Times story. While Musk said that government subsidies are "helpful" they are also "not necessary" for his company to run. He pointed out that $4.9 billion is from "adding up everything that's ever happened and including things that will take the next 20 years."

Musk suggested that the Times report was planted after the International Monetary Fund's staggering report that the fossil fuel industry receives more than $5 trillion in subsidies a year. During a talk in May, the sustainable transport/clean energy advocate urged a revolt against Big Energy for allegedly feeding negative stories about his work to the press.

"We need to appeal to the people—educate people to sort of revolt against this and to fight the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry which is unrelenting and enormous," Musk said.

On its website, the misleadingly titled Sunlight Project considers the solar industry "Big Energy," calling it a pet project of "the Obama Administration and those who claim to care about the environment." It accuses Washington of funneling millions in tax credits to solar companies "despite posting losses year after year." (Actually, the solar industry has reported record-breaking growth in recent years).

Several new reports have determined that the anti-solar/anti-Musk campaign has dubious ties with conservative interests and Big Energy lobbyists.

Electrek writer Fred Lambert reported that Citizens for the Republic, which was first launched by Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and later dismantled, is now spearheaded by none other than conservative radio host and climate change denier Laura Ingraham. Ingraham, a top Donald Trump surrogate, happens to be in the running for press secretary under the Trump administration.

The Drive's Liane Yvkoff also reported that Citizens for the Republic's board members Craig Shirley and Diane Banister are partners of the right-wing public relations firm Shirley and Banister Public Affairs, that has represented the National Rifle Association, commentator Ann Coulter and the Tea Party Patriots. Posts on "Stop Elon Musk From Failing" are authored by someone called "stopelon," the same user name on Alt Left Watch, which also happens to be managed by the PR company.

Not only that, Yvkoff noted that Shirley has previously lobbied for Citizens for State Power that "actively fought deregulation of utilities—in the years 1999, 2000, and 2001." The Washington Post revealed that utility companies secretly funded millions to Citizens for State Power to lobby Congress for energy deregulation. Shirley served on the board of the United Seniors Association that lobbied on behalf of the Republican party for energy deregulation in 2000, according to Public Citizen.

According to Yvkoff, Citizens for State Power and Stop Elon Musk From Failing "probably isn't a personal project of Craig Shirley or Diane Banister, and is more likely to be supported by energy companies that want to end the tax credits that help Tesla and other renewable energy companies build infrastructure."

However, when Bloomberg asked Banister if oil companies are contributing to the campaign, she responded, "We reached out to them [for donations], but they haven't responded.'"

The Sunlight Project produced a video that delves into their overall mission and touts the tagline, "We believe sunlight is the best disinfectant."

The clip features Shirley as well as Heartland Institute-approved Greg E. Walcher, the president of the Natural Resources Group and the former executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. In 2004, The League of Conservation Voters added Walcher to their "Dirty Dozen" list of anti-environmental candidates during his run for Congress in Colorado's 3rd District.

Walcher boasts on his resume that he "helped forge a compromise and approval that allowed new technology to access oil shale in the Piceance Basin, leading to the first practical oil shale production in 30 years."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Pexels

Tackling Climate Change Requires Healing the Divide

Canadian climate change opinion is polarized, and research shows the divide is widening. The greatest predictor of people's outlook is political affiliation. This means people's climate change perceptions are being increasingly driven by divisive political agendas rather than science and concern for our collective welfare.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Westend61 / Getty Images

EcoWatch Gratitude Photo Contest: Submit Now!

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its first photo contest! Show us what in nature you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Whether you have a love for oceans, animals, or parks, we want to see your best photos that capture what you love about this planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Pexels

10 Chefs Bringing Forgotten Grains Back to Life

Millets are a staple crop for tens of millions of people throughout Asia and Africa. Known as Smart Food, millets are gluten-free, and an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, zinc and dietary fiber. They can also be a better choice for farmers and the planet, requiring 30 percent less water than maize, 70 percent less water than rice, and can be grown with fewer expensive inputs, demanding little or no fertilizers and pesticides.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Háifoss waterfall is situated near the volcano Hekla in the south of Iceland. FEBRUARY / Getty Images

The Essential Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel

By Meredith Rosenberg

Between gas-guzzling flights, high-pollution cruise ships and energy-consuming hotels, travel takes a huge toll on the environment. Whether for business or vacation, for many people it's not realistic to simply stop traveling. So what's the solution? There are actually numerous ways to become more eco-conscious while traveling, which can be implemented with these expert tips.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Freder / E+ / Getty Images

Surprising Study: Orangutans Are Only Non-Human Primates Who Can 'Talk' About the Past

We already know that orangutans are some of the smartest land animals on Earth. Now, researchers have found evidence that these amazing apes can communicate about past events—the first time this trait has been observed in a non-human primate.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances revealed that when wild Sumatran orangutan mothers spotted a predator, they suppressed their alarm calls to others until the threat was no longer there.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Suicide rates are highest for males in construction and extraction; females in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, the CDC found. Michelllaurence / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

CDC: Suicide Rate Among U.S. Workers Increasing

From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among American workers has increased 34 percent, up 12.9 per 100,000 working persons to 17.3, according to a worrisome new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Workers with the highest suicide rates have construction, mining and drilling jobs, the U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
PG&E received a maximum sentence for the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion. Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Report: 90% of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.

The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Nevada Test and Training Range. U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum

U.S. Navy Proposes Massive Land Grab to Test Bombs

Friday the U.S. Navy released details of a plan to seize more than 600,000 acres of public land in central Nevada to expand a bombing range. The land under threat includes rich habitat for mule deer, important desert springs and nesting sites for raptors like golden eagles.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!