The world presented in Matt Damon’s new movie Promised Land is a world in which the fracking movement, well-funded by corporate oil money, takes on a ragtag bunch of idealistic environmentalists. It’s the classic David vs. Goliath story. According to a new report, the anti-fracking movement is just as well-funded by highly organized environmental groups backed by deep-pocketed liberal philanthropists and even Middle East oil money.
According to a new report titled “The Environmental Movement vs. the Marcellus Shale,” the anti-fracking movement, using its friends in media and in Hollywood, has carefully crafted a “little guy” image when the reality is something quite different.
Environmentalists often depict themselves as scrappy underdogs fighting the power of entrenched special interests. But the case of the Marcellus Shale—and the untold energy resources that could be recovered safely by new drilling technology such as fracking—pits “the little guy” against powerful “green” forces such as the Park Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Sometimes Goliath could use a little help. A common tactic used by environmental extremists and their friends in the media is to characterize adversaries as “Goliath”—the powerful villain—in conflict with the good guy, the scrappy underdog, the “David.” In fact, the purported David may be made up of wealthy foundations, powerful politicians, and unaccountable bureaucrats, and Goliath may be small farmers, working-class people, and people with small businesses.
This report is not likely to get much coverage in the so-called mainstream media. Instead, the MSM presents a far different picture. As an example, here’s how the New York Times covered the money behind a fight to start fracking in New York State for a story in late 2011.
The hydrofracking issue has created a cottage industry for paid lobbyists, because the gas-drilling industry previously had little business in the capital. One major gas driller, Chesapeake Energy, has spent more than $1.6 million on lobbying over the past three years. In the three years before that, it spent barely $40,000.
In fact, the reason that it looks as though the fracking interests far outspend the anti-fracking interests is because environmental groups register as a 501 ©3, a tax filing status that allows each of these groups to avoid also having to register as a lobbyist. As such, even though these environmental groups perform the same functions as their lobbying counterparts supporting the fracking movements, the environmental groups are classified as a charity.
As an example, there’s the fight over the Marcellus Shale Region, a treasure trove of natural gas reserves that stretches across parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. According to Tom Shepstone, the campaign director for the Northeast Marcellus Initiative (NMI), a group that supports fracking in this area, there are about ten environmental “pressure” groups on the ground spending money and resources to block fracking in the region. The list includes: Earthjustice, Earthworks, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Otsego 2000, the Community Environmental Defense Council, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, the Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Environmental Advocates of New York, and the Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) and its sister organization, the Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment. The CCE alone spent $3 million on efforts in the region last year. None were registered as lobbyists.
Most of the domestic anti-fracking efforts are ultimately funded by one left wing philanthropic group in particular: the Park Foundation. The Park Foundation was originally founded by Roy Park. Park was identified as the 40th wealthiest person in America by Forbes in 1993. His company, Park Communications, had control of 21 radio stations, seven television stations, and 144 publications when it was at its peak. Roy Park left 51 percent of his company to the Park Foundation when he died.
Domestically is not the only place where one will find powerful interests supporting the anti-fracking movement. The movie Promised Land is a great example. The Heritage Foundation reported that the movie’s chief financier was a company wholly owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates. The name of the company is Abu Dhabi Media. The budget for Promised Land was $15 million.
It’s no secret that Middle East oil interests like the UAE see fracking as a direct threat to the endless petro dollars that have been created because oil is the world’s chief energy source. The Middle East has an endless stream of oil, but natural gas is a different story.
The following December 2012 story from the American Interest laid out the threat to Middle East oil that fracking is.
The US shale gas boom, drastically cutting the cost of gas, is shaking the foundations of the Saudi Arabian economic model—and more is coming. The highly profitable $100bn Gulf petrochemical industry is taking a hit as its biggest customer—the U.S.—is importing less and relying instead on domestic production.
It should be noted that this anti-fracking movement comes just as Vladimir Putin attempts to quietly create a pseudo-OPEC in natural gas. A natural gas discovery in 2010 in Israel immediately made that nation a player in the world market. Since, emissaries from Russia have made a number of low key trips to Israel pitching the idea of a conglomerate of natural gas producing nations. So, even as left wing environmentalists attempt to limit our own production domestically of natural gas, our enemies are courting our allies globally to form natural gas partnerships.
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