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Stop Letting Environmental Groups Funded By Russia Dictate America’s Energy Policy

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Image CreditTom Fisk/Pexels

It is an open secret that Russians have funded anti-fracking and anti-natural gas propaganda in America for decades.

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In aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one thing has become abundantly clear to the American people: energy security is national security. But after decades of indoctrination by environmental groups who have pushed a climate change agenda completely detached from reality, today America is left with neither.

Since the first day of his presidency, Joe Biden has capitulated to America’s most powerful, well-funded, dark money environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Climate Action Network, whose agenda is to shut down fossil fuels and restructure our entire economy around a socialist-style Green New Deal.

Politically beholden to these groups, and fearing the shame and public harassment tactics that they are known for, President Biden began his presidency by unleashing a war on American oil and gas to satisfy the environmental left. Many people don’t know that for years, Russia has funded the anti-fracking propaganda that many environmental groups have picked up.

In 2017, congressional investigators found that a money trail linked Russia to millions of dollars funding U.S. nonprofits to work against U.S. shale gas in order to influence the U.S. energy market. Specifically, investigators found that NRDC, Sierra Club, and Climate Action Network were all found to have received millions of dollars of funding in grants from a shady San Francisco-based company called “Sea Change” that a money trail linked back to the Russians. Indeed, it is an open secret that Russians have funded anti-fracking and anti-natural gas propaganda in America for decades, as environmental groups funded the campaigns of Democrats and pressured them to ban fossil fuels. 

These same environmental groups relentlessly attacked President Trump and his appointees (I was one) as “anti-science,” “enemies of the EPA,” and “climate change deniers,” pulling out all the stops to frame President Trump’s pro-American energy agenda as harmful to the environment. President Trump knew then what we are all seeing now: Energy independence is crucial to our security, and we don’t have to shut down industry with duplicative and costly regulations to protect our environment.

After spending millions to elect Biden, the environmental left got its wish: Biden canceled America’s Keystone XL pipeline, blocking the safe transport of oil from one of our closest allies and killing thousands of jobs. At the same time, Biden removed President Trump’s sanctions on the Russian NordStream2 pipeline, giving Putin the green light to move forward.

Biden canceled oil and gas leasing on 2.46 billion acres of federal on and off-shore lands, effectively crushing American energy supplies. He unleashed his federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and more to hamper energy exploration, production, and transportation with new regulations. Finally, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent, Biden’s regulators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took one more step to embolden Russian oil by clamping down on pipeline permits and LNG-export terminals, which could have helped supply American gas to the rest of the world.

The result is that Russia got exactly what it wanted: Europe and America have become more dependent on Russian gas to supply our energy needs, depriving us of an incredibly important geopolitical tool of leverage in a time of crisis. Emboldened by Biden’s weak leadership and increased reliance on Russian gas, Putin made his move. So far, Biden has refused to hit Russia with sanctions on their oil and gas sector or remove barriers to American energy production.

Further adding to this madness is the fact that very few of Biden’s punitive moves against American energy would actually help the environment. Numerous studies have shown that pipelines have no material impact on greenhouse gas emissions since crude oil would still be extracted, and shipping it by rail or tanker instead of pipeline results in up to 42 percent higher emissions and more leaks.

Furthermore, American natural gas is far cleaner than Russian gas. A major 2019 study by the U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory found that Russian gas piped to Europe has up to 22 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than European coal. U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) delivered to the EU, in contrast, has up to 56 percent fewer total emissions than EU coal, the report shows. 

Overall, natural gas production in the United States has fugitive emissions of 1.4 percent of total gas volume, according to an analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency done during the Obama administration. Amazingly, many of these groups also reject nuclear energy as a solution to climate change even though it has zero carbon emissions.

It is time for Biden and Democrats to wake up and stop their blind allegiance to environmental groups who attack American energy and have links to foreign countries. Energy policy should not be dictated by political groups, it should take into account all the factors and issues at play, of which climate change is one. National security and energy reliability are others.

America’s energy policy should embrace an all-of-the-above approach that includes nuclear, renewables, and gas. It is also time to recognize the significant gains U.S industry has made in fighting climate change. Since 2000, the United States has led the world in energy-related emissions reductions as natural gas from shale hydraulic fracturing has replaced coal power generation.

American energy can blunt the influence of Russian gas and reduce emissions. It’s time to stop the war on American oil and gas.