Report Lists Headwaters Economics as Anti-Coal Front Group

Aaron Flint posted on June 12, 2015 12:41 :: 1398 Views

Given the copy and paste journalism we have these days, it isn’t a surprise when press releases from environmental groups get printed as if their propaganda was actual news, or an unbiased study. 

Headwaters Economics is one of those groups that is usually able to garner some free media attention.  This week, Count on Coal fired back with a report of their own:  Headwaters Economics revealed as front for anti-coal environmentalists

Headwaters Economics is a environmental nonprofit organization located in Bozeman, Montana. Headwaters characterizes itself as a independent research organization, but a review of their financial backing shows that they are clearly a front for anti-coal environmentalists.

Financial data acquired for 2012 and 2013 show that Headwaters is funded nearly in its entirety by environmental organizations. Headwaters is funded by a combination of government grants and contributions from private foundations—roughly speaking, about 10% of their funding comes from government grants and the remainder from foundations.

In 2013, at least 98% of Headwaters’ non-governmental funding came from environmental groups.

Headwaters Economics has ties to billionaire environmental activists Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.

I reached out to Ray Rasker, the Executive Director of Headwaters Economics.  He said Headwaters had no reaction to the Count on Coal piece.  However; Greenwire has this: (#21 on the list)

Headwaters has released reports critical of the current coal valuation system. Count on Coal says donors include the Kresge Foundation, the Kendeda Fund and the Hewlett Foundation, which have also given to green groups.

Headwaters researcher Mark Haggerty said Kendeda and Hewlett money helped fund the coal-related research.

There were no strings attached to the funding, he said, and the group is working on having the research peer-reviewed and published.

I also asked Rasker if there were any ties between Headwaters and the embattled Wyss Foundation.  Rasker said they do not receive funding from the Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, nor his Wyss Foundation. 

Count on Coal’s Chuck Denowh countered with this:

There is strong connection between Wyss and Headwaters. One of Headwaters major backers, the LOR Foundation, was started by his daughter using her dad’s fortune. The LOR gave Headwaters $250,000 in 2013 making them Headwater’s largest single funder and providing over 25% of their budget that is financed by private donation.

You can read an article about her here.


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