by Anna Manning
Just this year, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released a majority report that confirmed Russia used social media platforms to oppose the use of natural gas, limit research and development of fossil fuels, and generally influence U.S. energy policy.
Van der Vaart reports that Lamar Smith and Randy Weber, Texas Republican representatives, claim that trusted environmental groups like the Sierra Club and NRDC have received tens of millions from a Russian shell company.
Few doubt Russia is motivated to oppose fracking operations outside of Russia. Oil and gas represent approximately 50 percent of Russian exports. Competition from the U.S. or from fracking operations in Europe is not in Russia’s interest. A loss of market share would also diminish Russia’s political influence in the region.
Claims on this Russian meddling in both U.S. and world energy policy are credible and bipartisan but not much digging has been done, which is concerning.
The Trump administration should take the lead and open an investigation into these allegations. Only then will we learn which environmental groups are serving as proxies for the Russians, and which groups are not.
Read more of van der Vaart’s piece from The Hill here.