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Washington, D.C. – A new study published this June falsely claims Oklahoma’s anti-ESG law, the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act (EDEA), does not have a harmful effect on municipal borrowing costs. This study, which was conducted by the American Energy Institute, was backed by notorious purveyors of climate misinformation who have deep financial interests in the oil and gas industry. 

The AEI study attempts to debunk an earlier report published in April by the Oklahoma Rural Association which revealed Oklahoma’s anti-ESG law has increased state borrowing costs by 15.7 percent in the first 17 months since its implementation, incurring an estimated $184.7 million in additional state costs. The law, which passed in 2022, blacklisted some of the world’s largest financial institutions from doing business with state agencies and political subdivisions. 

“Research has consistently proven that responsible investing bans like the EDEA have harmful fiscal and economic consequences on state municipal budgets,” said Kyle Herrig, spokesperson for Unlocking America’s Future. “Blacklisting competitors vying for state contracts and pension plans has catastrophic effects on Oklahoma’s economy and risks the financial security of Americans trying to save for retirement. The report published by the American Energy Institute is yet another attack from greedy CEOs in the oil and gas industry attempting to spread misinformation about responsible investing and protect their financial interests at the expense of American taxpayers.”

Jason Isaac, CEO of The American Energy Institute, is a self-identified “Carbon King” and has a long history of climate denial.

  • Isaac previously founded the Texas Natural Gas Foundation in 2015 where he worked with oil and gas companies to create a school curriculum that spread climate misinformation.
  • The curriculum described moving to renewable energy as “devastating to us socially as well as economically” and falsely claimed there was “debate” about whether renewable energy sources were better for the environment. 
  • Working with Isaac at the Texas Natural Gas Foundation to develop and disseminate this climate misinformation to teachers and schoolchildren were Ken Morgan, Mary Bell, and Heather Ball—each of whom are also board members or employees of the American Energy Institute.

Steve Milloy, who sits on the Board of Directors of the American Energy Institute, is a former coal executive and a notorious climate contrarian. 

  • Milloy is the former Director of External Policy & Strategy at coal production giant Murray Energy Corporation.
  • Milloy has also been described as “the nation’s most influential climate science contrarian” who “has a long history of working on behalf of industry-led scientific misinformation campaigns.” 
  • Milloy was also part of a team of representatives from the fossil fuel industry and conservative think tanks who secretly crafted a communications plan to try and convince “a majority of the American Public” that “significant uncertainties exist in climate science.”

Major oil magnate and right-wing activist Tim Dunn has financial ties to the American Energy Institute. 

  • Tim Dunn is the CEO of oil and gas exploration company Crownquest, which was a founding member of the American Energy Institute.
  • Dunn is an extreme conservative who has been one of the largest funders of political campaigns for right-wing politicians in Texas and has a long history of anti-climate science activism.
  • Dunn is also the Vice-Chairman of the Texas Public Policy Institute, an organization that has been accused of spreading misinformation about climate science and also wrote the Texas anti-responsible investment law that the Oklahoma boycott law was based on.