National Security Desk / Jul. 24, 2017

Russia Colludes With Ecofascists to Oppose Fracking

Congress should be investigating Moscow's funding of environmental groups that seek to kill competition.

With the mainstream media’s continuous churning of the Donald Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy, one can easily become callous toward any news related to allegations of actual Russian collusion. But to do so would be to ignore the reality that Vladimir Putin does indeed pose a credible threat to Western nations. And it’s not beyond reason to recognize that Putin is still invested in pushing the message of Russian election interference if only to further sow the seeds of division and distrust among Americans regarding the integrity of our electoral system. Leftmedia propaganda outlets are his willing accomplices.

Putin is about maintaining and increasing his own power. Not only that, but he longs for the glory days when the Soviet Union controlled much of Eastern Europe. In this vein he seeks through propaganda to influence public opinion so as to secure greater influence and economic control for Moscow. Another of Putin’s most effective propaganda tools turns out to be environmentalist groups.

For several years now the Russians have invested heavily in the anti-fracking crusade, but not out of any high-minded concerns over the environmental impact. Lacking their own resources or technological development, many Eastern European countries have been forced to look to Russia for their fuel needs. But with the development of fracking technology, several European nations have explored using the technology to reach previously untapped energy reserves on their own soil. This poses a threat to Moscow’s near monopoly over the regional energy market.

For example, in 2012, Bulgaria issued a permit to allow Chevron to engage in fracking. Environmental activists protested, presenting dubious claims of contaminated drinking water and other pollution. Eventually, the Bulgarian government caved to the ecofascists and voted to ban fracking. Guess who swooped in to offer a 20% discount for a 10-year natural gas contract — Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy company.

Putin played a similar game in Romania in the funding of environmentalist groups that were successful in stopping any fracking there. In 2014, several European nations banned fracking after protests prompted then-NATO Secretary General Fogh Anders Rasmussen to warn, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.”

Even Hillary Clinton noted that while she was at the State Department, “We were up against phony environmental groups. And I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand up against any effort. ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of that money supporting that effort was coming from Russia.”

Russia hasn’t stopped its anti-fracking campaign. In 2015, Russia’s state-run media outlet produced no fewer than 60 anti-fracking stories purporting to show studies that determined fracking was “dangerous.” Recently, two Republican representatives wrote a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding that he investigate a shell company accused of funneling millions from the Russian government to a private environmentalist group — the Sea Change Foundation. The tip of the proverbial iceberg.

This is the real Russian meddling story that Congress should be investigating.

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