Founding in 1984:
EESI grew out of the Environmental and Energy Study Conference, a bipartisan and bicameral Congressional caucus originally formed in 1975 by then-Congressmen Dick Ottinger (D-NY), John Heinz (R-PA), John Seiberling (D-Ohio), and Gilbert Gude (R-MD), and which grew to encompass more than 85 Senators and 295 Representatives—a majority of the House and Senate. These forward-thinking Congressional representatives from both parties identified a need for policymakers to have more access to fact-based information on energy and environmental issues.
Because the Conference was unable to support its work entirely on Congressional funds and Hill rules prohibited the receipt of outside financial support, the leadership of the Study Conference established its successor, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), as a separate and distinct 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1984. EESI, now controlled by an independent board of directors, continues to provide information and policy resources to Congress on energy and environmental issues. Dick Ottinger, the sole surviving co-founder, continues to serve on EESI’s Board of Directors.
In 1988, EESI's Board issued a policy declaration stating that it is a moral imperative to address climate change and that all of EESI's work should be looked at through a climate lens—a principle that continues to guide us today. EESI seeks to unite a range of constituencies behind win-win climate and clean energy solutions by emphasizing the multiple benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the substantial costs of inaction.
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