Two key House Republicans have called on the Trump administration to investigate whether Russia is trying to undermine the U.S. energy industry by funding environmental activism as part of a “propaganda war against fossil fuels,” according to the Washington Times.
News of this nature is not old. Back in November 2014, the New York Times ran a feature-length piece on Russia’s attempts to stop the then-Obama era policy of encouraging fracking as a means of both reducing oil prices and ending a Bush-era directive to end America’s dependence on foreign energy reserves.
In the NYT piece, it discusses a Romanian mayor who thought he had struck the motherlode by allowing Chevron to lease a portion of land for natural gas exploration in the Polesti oil fields.
What occurred next was nothing short of shocking. “We never had protesters here,” stated former Pungesti mayor Vlasa Mircia, “and suddenly they were everywhere.”
So who financed this supposedly grassroots-driven tidal wave against fracking? Gazprom, the Russian state-run energy giant.
“Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas,” were the precise words of former NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen.
Fast forward to 2017 as we have seen the rise not only of progressive agitators rail against energy projects here in the United States, but traditionalist and identitarian alt-right activists as well.
Rep. Lamar Smith was clear in his letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: “If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking.”