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The Institute for Energy Research (IER), is a Washington, DC-based non-profit policy corporation or think tank that conducts research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that free-market energy solutions provide the most financially inexpensive solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the financial well-being of individuals and society. IER was founded in 1989 from a predecessor organization.[which?]
IER is a tax-exempt public foundation funded entirely by tax-deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. No financial support is sought for or accepted from the government. IER has received funding from a variety of sources, including the Brown Foundation, the Searle Freedom Trust, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. They have also previously received funding from ExxonMobil, but ExxonMobil has not given to IER since 2007.
In December 2011, IER released its North American Energy Inventory, a compilation of total energy in North America. Using the North American Energy Inventory, IER asserted that the US could be energy independent if the US federal government were to allow for greater domestic energy exploration and production.
The Institute's CEO, Robert L. Bradley, Jr., was formerly a director of policy analysis at Enron, where he wrote speeches for Kenneth Lay. He has written seven books, including Capitalism at Work and Edison to Enron, and he maintains the website Political Capitalism. He is also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.
Robert L. Bradley, Jr., President of the Institute for Energy Research, wrote an article published by Competitive Enterprise Institute, entitled "Heated Debate" to respond to a negative review by Harvard Professor John P. Holdren of the 2001 international best seller The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg. Lomberg was inspired to write his book after he read an article entitled "The Doomslayer" profiling Julian L. Simon. Lomberg was honored in 2003 with the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute's Julian L. Simon award. The award was given to Robert L. Bradley in 2002 and more recently in 2012 to Matt Ridley, who is also skeptical about climate change.
The Institute for Energy Research has a political arm, the American Energy Alliance, which is responsible for multi-million dollar television advertising campaigns that have attacked energy policy, ideas and positions of the Obama Administration that are contrary to the those held by IER. The American Energy Alliance is run by Thomas (Tom) Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. According the its website, the Alliance engages in "grassroots public policy advocacy and debate" regarding energy.
Both IER and the American Energy Alliance are partly funded by the Koch Brothers and their donor network, according to Politico's research, sources - and to reports by Koch-controlled charitable foundations themselves. The American Energy Alliance, as a matter of policy, does not disclose the names of its donors.
American Energy Alliance provide an online petition to U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the US federal government administration's approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline extension. American Energy Alliance compare the extended time for the application approval to the time it took for the Allies "to win World War II."
Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for American Energy Alliance told Politico in October 2012 that, "Our [American Energy Alliance] goal is to make the United States Wind Energy Policy#Wind Production Tax Credit so toxic that it makes it impossible for John Boehner to sit at a table with Harry Reid and say, ‘Yeah, I can bend on this one.’”