As the Trump administration worked to revise and relax federal fuel economy and emissions standards for cars and light trucks, an oil refiners trade group worked connections with Republican governors to rally support for the proposed rollback.
Emails obtained by Documented, a watchdog group that tracks corporate influence in government, revealed that the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) were actively recruiting Republican Governors to sign onto a public comment letter supporting the weaker CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) standards, while also “shopping around” a pre-written op-ed with language borrowed from the American Energy Alliance, a free market advocacy group run by a former Koch Industries lobbyist.
A blockbuster New York Times investigation published in December revealed how AFPM, using a front group called Energy4US, deployed Facebook advertisements to prompt thousands of identical public comments filed in the Federal Register supporting the proposed rule. An earlier article on the Facebook ads by ProPublica had linked AFPM to Energy4US, and researchers at DeSmog’s KochvsClean had since connected the front group to more than one-quarter of all public comments that the Department of Transportation (DOT) had received on the proposed rule, while also revealing that the Consumer Energy Alliance was connected to the campaign.
In addition to the more than 3,000 identical comments, the emails obtained by Documented through a number of state open records requests revealed a much broader influence campaign.
Email messages show AFPM representatives reaching out to the staff of Republican governors, soliciting signatures for a formal letter that was eventually submitted to the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In another email, AFPM’s Senior Vice President of Federal and Regulatory Affairs shared…