Frontiers of Freedom

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Frontiers of Freedom was founded by ex-Republican Senator Malcolm Wallop in 1996, immediately after he retired from the Senate. The right-wing think tank describes itself as “a cutting-edge, forward-looking policy group advancing center-right principles in today's fast-paced news and information age. We work with grassroots activists throughout the country to protect private property rights, secure our national security, and promote sensible public policies critical to our country's liberty”[1]

In its mission statement, Frontiers of Freedom called itself "the antithesis to the Sierra Club and Vice President Al Gore's Earth in the Balance":

Frontiers works to advance States' rights, protect property rights, privatize Social Security, defend first amendment civil liberties, and among other efforts to reform the federal tax code, the Endangered Species Act, and the Food and Drug Administration.[2]

It is an often overlooked but key player in the anti-green backlash.

Contents

Funding

Frontiers of Freedom receives money from tobacco and oil companies, including Philip Morris Co, ExxonMobil and RJ Reynolds Tobacco. According to the New York Times: “Frontiers of Freedom, which has about a $700,000 annual budget, received $230,000 from Exxon in 2002, up from $40,000 in 2001, according to Exxon documents” [3]. In 2003, Exxon gave FoF $195,000[4], $250,000 in 2004[5], $140,000 in 2005[6] and $180,000 in 2006[7].

George Landrith, President of FoF told the New York Times: “They've determined that we are effective at what we do”, He said Exxon essentially took the attitude, “We like to make it possible to do more of that [8]”.

FoF has also received some $388,450 in 13 grants from the following five conservative foundations[9]:

Principals

  • Malcolm Wallop – The Founder of FOF. Republican Senator from 1977-1995. Wallop continues to have close connections to the current Republican Administration. He is seen as a friend of current Vice-president Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld has spoken at FoF conferences. Freedom staff have been invited to private briefings with President Bush on issues such as Kyoto.

Wallop is a former Board member of Hubbell Inc., El Paso Energy Company and Sheridan State Bank. In and out of office he has concentrated on areas relating to tax reform, federal deregulation, energy policy, private property rights, and national defense[10].

Issues

  • National Defence – Committed to a strong national defence and need for a missile defense system
  • Energy Policy – FOF “is committed to advancing the need for a sensible comprehensive energy policy that includes coal, gas, oil, hydro- and nuclear energies”.
  • Climate Change - FoF describes itself as an “international leader in combating the proliferation of politicized and sensationalized “science” about global climate change”. Leading opponent of the Kyoto Protocol and a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition (see CEI).
  • CAFÉ Standards – Against increasing fuel efficiency standards
  • Endangered Species Act – For reform of the ESA
  • Environment - Aggressively trying to undermine tax deductible status of Environmental NGOs.

Climate

Myron Ebell who is one of the US’s leading political climate sceptics at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, worked at FoF from early 1996-99. At the CEI Ebell chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition, of which FoF is a member. Frontiers of Freedom is also a joint signatory on CEI letters on climate along with many right wing and wise use groups. Christopher Horner, a Senior Fellow at FoF is also an adjunct policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute(CEI).

But FoF has a history of working on climate issues in its own right. In August 1997, FOF, organised a Countdown to Kyoto conference in Canberra in conjunction with the Australian APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation) Centre. According to Australian newspapers, its aim was to "bolster support" for the government's increasingly isolated position on global warming in preparation for Kyoto [12]

It was attended by, amongst others, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer and Environment Minister Robert Hill, Wallop and Senator Chuck Hagel, the co-sponsor of a Senate resolution advising then President Bill Clinton that any agreement seen to harm United States economic interests should be abandoned and would not be supported by the Senate.

Also in attendance were John Dingell, D-Mich and the climate sceptics Professor Patrick Michaels, Professor John Christy and Cornell University professor Jeremy Rabkin who noted that it was Kyoto’s intention to “create a international super-agency that not only possesses police powers sufficiently strong to bring miscreant countries to heel, but also wisdom enough to run the world economy.”[13]

In 2002, FOF held a briefing at the National Press Club with the Cooler Heads Coalition, entitled: Experts Discuss Why United States Should Withdraw Its Signature From Kyoto; Whatever Happened To Global Warming Anyway. Wallop spoke, so did Fred Singer, John Daly, a climate sceptic from Australia, and Christopher Horner, from the FoF / CEI. [14] The year before the FOF had held another symposium that argued that "there is no significant man-induced global warming.”[15]

Contact

  • Address:
  • 12011 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway
  • 3rd Floor (Suite 310)
  • Fairfax, Virginia 22033

Notes

  1. Jason Wright of Frontiers of Freedom, From: Jason Wright of Frontiers of Freedom, Science Blog, 11/6/2003, accessed 16 Mar 2010
  2. ExxonMobil emerges as major funder of greenhouse skeptics, The Heat is Online website, accessed 16 Mar 2010
  3. J. Lee, “Exxon Backs Groups That Question Global Warming”, The New York Times, 28 May 2003, p5
  4. GreenPeace Investigations ExxonMobil Public Information and Policy Research 2003 5th October 2007. Accessed 5th February 2009
  5. GreenPeace Investigation ExxonMobil '04 Worldwide contributions and community investments 5th October 2007. Accessed 5th February 2009
  6. GreenPeace Investigations ExxonMobil Public Info and Policy Research 2005 5th October 2007. Accessed 5th February 2009
  7. GreenPeace Investigations ExxonMobil '06 Contributions and Community Investments 5th October 2007. Accessed 5th February 2009
  8. J. Lee, “Exxon Backs Groups That Question Global Warming”, The New York Times, 28 May 2003, p5
  9. J. Lee, “Exxon Backs Groups That Question Global Warming”, The New York Times, 28 May 2003, p5
  10. Frontiers of Freedom Meet Our Founder Accessed 22nd January 2009
  11. Frontiers of Freedom Paul Driessen, page now removed.
  12. Beder, S, Vidal, J and Brown, P., “Who killed the Kyoto summit”? The Guardian, 7 December 1997.
  13. Frontiers of Freedom, website
  14. US NewsWire “Experts Discuss Why United States Should Withdraw Its Signature From Kyoto; Whatever Happened To Global Warming Anyway”? 14 May 2002.
  15. Associated Press “Uw Professor At Heart Of Debate, But Has Enough Confidence To Buy On The Beach”, 17 April 2000.
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