Energy Bigwigs Descend on Bacara

With discussions of environmentalism-as-a-business, sprawling cities, and a conservative group’s role in environmental policy, Friday brought to a close another annual installment of “ECO:nomics,” a conference at the Bacara Resort hosted by The Wall Street Journal, where industry, government, and nonprofit head honchos converged to discuss where energy and the environment collide.

The three-day chat-fest started on Wednesday night with a debate over the plunging price of oil, including comments from oil giant T. Boone Pickens. Thursday’s marathon session featured insights into coal, electric cars, fracking innovations, energy infrastructure, and strained electrical grids. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy headlined Thursday night’s event, where she spoke about the agency’s new regulations and sounded off on what could be to come.

On Friday morning, Tim Phillips — the president of Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party-supported and Koch brothers-backed group — questioned the role humans play in climate change but said he doesn’t “want to see what’s happening in Beijing happen here.” He also called on the federal government to “strip away the subsidies” for the energy industry to “lessen the cronyism” involved, which he attributed to both Democrats and Republicans.

Looking forward to 2016, Phillips complained about environmental regulations “slowing down this economy” and acknowledged that Americans for Prosperity plans on pumping $887 million into the next election.

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