by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Yesterday I posted the results of another long-term (four years) university study of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that found no evidence that the fracking process contaminates drinking water. I listed numerous others as well.
I’ve also shown how fracking, by making natural gas cheap and plentiful (and not dependent upon subsidies), has contributed mightily to making the United States the world leader in emissions reductions.
Despite the Paris accord, which the U.S. is famously not a part of, European nations are seeing their emissions still on the increase.
North Carolina’s emissions have also been falling all century, commensurate with the U.S.’s, in large part because of natural gas being increasingly used here for electricity.
Going further, in what seemed like an impossibility a decade and a half ago, the U.S. has become the world leader in oil production. That is also thanks to fracking. Fortune reported earlier this month:
Growth in oil production in Texas and the Permian and Bakken geological regions have put total U.S. oil production ahead of Russia’s for the first time since February 1999, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. That makes it the world leader in oil production, as predicted earlier this summer.
U.S. production is closing in on 11 million barrels a day and the EIA predicts that U.S. production will remain ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabaia during the rest of this year and through 2019, despite a downward revision of the EIA’s previous estimate for 2019.
So why, therefore, is there such a dedicated drumbeat against fracking? It’s an intrinsically safe process producing many, many results long sought for by well-intentioned people on both sides of the political divide. What’s the problem?
More to the point, who could have a problem with it?
Here’s a hint: See that Fortune quotation above. U.S. oil production is ahead of …
But we don’t have to speculate. It’s been reported worldwide (not to mention here, several times) since 2014.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and former premier of Denmark, told the Chatham House thinktank in London on Thursday that Vladimir Putin’s government was behind attempts to discredit fracking, according to reports.
Rasmussen said: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”
— The Guardian (U.K.), “Russia ‘secretly working with environmentalists to oppose fracking'”, June 19, 2014
Then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also warned of Russia financing environmental groups to oppose fracking in order to keep the Europe dependent upon Russian gas — and therefore susceptible to Russian pressure (because “The Russians can only intimidate you if you are dependent upon them”):
Clinton campaign staff summarized in an email attachment Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject during a private speech:
Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.”
— The Wall Street Journal, “What Did Hillary Know about Russian Interference?,” July 10, 2017
In 2017, as reported in Newsweek, U.S. intelligence found “clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States.”
The hunt for Russian attempts to influence U.S. politics found that and then some, as discussed in The Hill October 26, 2017:
But as the investigations have progressed, there is a growing realization that Russians were trying to influence the political process and policy debates, including environmentalists’ efforts to limit or stop hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an innovative crude oil and natural gas drilling process. …
According to the World Bank, oil and gas revenue accounts for about 40 percent of the Russian government’s revenues, which it uses to expand its influence and foment mischief and unrest around the world. …
Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and Randy Weber (R-Texas), chairman of the Energy Subcommittee … recently sent Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a letter outlining how money appears to be channeled from Russia through a Bermuda-based “shell company” known as Klein, Ltd., which doles out “tens of millions of dollars to a U.S. based … private foundation, the Sea Change Foundation.”
The letter alleges, “Sea Change then passes the money originating in Russia to various … organizations such as the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, and others.” Those environmental groups then use the money to oppose fracking, the congressmen claim.
My colleague Donald van der Vaart discussed all of that in The Hill on August 13, 2018. He called for the Trump administration to open an investigation into these “credible, bipartisan concerns about Russian meddling in U.S. and world energy policy.”
So if you wanted to know who could oppose lower U.S. emissions, cheaper and more reliable electricity, and U.S. energy independence, well, now you do.
But do you want to help that effort?