Institute for 21st Century Energy

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Institute for 21st Century Energy is an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[1] The president the CEO is Karen A. Harbert. The group promotes energy efficiency, while lobbying for the immediate expansion of domestic fossil fuel energy production from sources like oil, methane gas, and coal. It also and promotes traditional nuclear plants as part of a national energy plan. The Institute for 21st Century Energy also pushes to reduce regulations on the energy industry. [2] [3]

In July, 2011 the Institute established the "Partnership to Fuel America," a Nebraska front group to recruit businesses to support the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline project that would carry transport crude oil from the Athabasca Tar Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, and further to the U.S. Gulf Coast.[4]

Fracking campaign

In July 2012, the Institute for 21st Century Energy launched its national "Shale Works for US" campaign. A chief goal of the campaign -- which will likely use television ads and outreach efforts to local business and community groups -- is to counter the public concern over the air- and water-quality impacts of fracking. The campaign will instead tout the potential economic benefits from jobs and revenues.[5]

The Shale Works campaign offers rosy employment statistics, which trace to an April 2012 report authored by professors at three major Ohio universities, who were funded by the natural gas industry through the Ohio Shale Coalition. One co-author of the study, Robert Chase, is a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission since 2008. He was later questioned by the Ohio Ethics Commission on his potential conflicts of interest. In 2011, Chase founded his own consultancy, Chaseland LLC, that helps connect landowners with gas companies seeking drilling rights, for which Chase collects a commission.[6]

The effort followed an announcement by the Chamber of Commerce that it was launching a series of television advertisements targeting four key Senate races in New Mexico, North Dakota, Nevada, and Hawaii. The chamber has touted the campaigns as part of its "unprecedented voter education efforts" leading up to the November 2012 elections and focusing on a wide array of pro-business issues, including domestic energy development.[7]

Keystone Pipeline Project would benefit Koch Industries

A February 2010 SolveClimate News analysis, based on publicly available records, found that Koch Industries is responsible for close to 25 percent of the oil tar sands crude that is imported into the United States, and is positioned to benefit from Keystone. A Koch Industries operation in Calgary, Alberta, called Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, supplies about 250,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day to an oil refinery in Minnesota, also owned by the Koch brothers. Flint Hills Resources Canada also operates a crude oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, the starting point of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The company's website says it is "among Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters." Koch Industries also owns Koch Exploration Canada, L.P., an oil sands-focused exploration company also based in Calgary that acquires, develops and trades petroleum properties.[8]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources


Institute for 21st Century Energy
1615 H Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20062
Phone: 202-463-5558

NOTE: This is the same physical address as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce


  1. Institute for 21st Century Energy Institute for 21st Century Energy - homepage, organizational website, accessed September 7, 2011
  2. Institute for 21st Century Energy Message from the President, organizational website, accessed September 7, 2011
  3. Institute for 21st Century Energy Transition Plan, Report/plan/proposal, (pdf) copyright 2008 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  4. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Energy Institute Launches “Partnership to Fuel America” to Support North American Energy Development, press release, July 29, 2011
  5. Scott Streater, "Ohio is launching pad for U.S. Chamber offensive on shale development," E&E, July 19, 2012.
  6. Tim McDonnell, [ "Smelling a leak: Is the natural gas industry buying academics?" Grist, July 30, 2012.
  7. Scott Streater, "Ohio is launching pad for U.S. Chamber offensive on shale development," E&E, July 19, 2012.
  8. "Koch Brothers Positioned To Be Big Winners If Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved" SolveClimate News, February 10, 2011