Wisconsin Governor Appoints Climate Denier and ALEC Energy Chair to Task Force on Climate Change

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced the legislative appointment of Wisconsin State Rep. Mike Kuglistch to the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change. The task force will be charged with developing a strategy to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and will be comprised of more than 30 members, including other state lawmakers, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, members from Governor Evers’ cabinet, climate activists and university faculty.

Rep. Kuglistch, who once said “climate change was derived from a misguided belief of global warming perpetuated from the left and environmental activists,” currently chairs the Energy, Environment and Agriculture (EEA) Task Force within the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC’s EEA task force has adopted numerous “model” bills and resolutions opposing actions to combat climate change, weakening environmental protections and denying climate science.

Documented previously revealed the names of fossil fuel corporations, utilities, industry trade associations, right-wing think tanks, and legislators behind many of these policies. 

In 2015, Rep. Kuglistch participated in the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” hosted by the notorious climate denial and fossil-fuel funded organization, Heartland Institute. After attending the conference, Rep. Kuglistch claimed that “the information was phenomenal and the talent that was at that conference was amazing…it had the real data that I was searching for.” 

“When we have our committee hearings and we obviously have the opposition that will bring up data and unfortunately with the media that is out there, that’s the data most people hear,” Kuglistch said in a 2015 podcast with the Heartland Institute. “And what I needed to do is hear the other side and so it created some good rebuttal points that I could bring up the next time when the opposition brings up some of the unsettled science.” 

The Wisconsin Representative’s view on climate change vastly differs from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who said in a statement about joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, “it’s time to lead our state in a new direction where we embrace science, where we discuss the very real implications of climate change, where we work to find solutions, and where we invest in renewable energy.” 

Photograph of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism user under creative commons license.

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