As Clinton Deals Huge Debate Blow to “Keep-It-In-The-Ground,” Emails Confirm Russians Funding “Phony” Anti-Fracking Groups
Keep-It-In-The-Ground activists must have been pretty disappointed last night when presidential candidate Hillary Clinton touted the benefits of U.S. shale development during the second presidential debate.
But that was just the beginning. A number of speeches given by Clinton, which were leaked today, confirm what folks have long suspected – that the Russians have been funding what she calls “phony” anti-fracking efforts across the globe. As Clinton put it in a 2014 speech sponsored by tinePublic:
“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.”
In another speech, Clinton noted the importance of European natural gas production in order to reduce dependence on Russia. As she said in a 2014 speech at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal,
“So how far this aggressiveness goes I think is really up to us. I would like to see us accelerating the development of pipelines from Azerbaijan up into Europe. I would like to see us looking for ways to accelerate the internal domestic production. Poland recently signed a big contract to explore hydraulic fracturing to see what it could produce. Apparently, there is thought to be some good reserves there. And just really go at this in a self-interested, smart way. The Russians can only intimidate you if you are dependent upon them.”
As the Washington Times put it today, “the leaked speeches came as another blow to Mrs. Clinton’s tenuous relationship with environmentalists.” The first blow came last night in the presidential debate when Clinton said,
[Y]ou know that we are now for the first time ever energy-independent. We are not dependent upon the Middle East. But the Middle East still controls a lot of the prices. So the price of oil has been way down. And that has had a damaging effect on a lot of the oil companies, right? We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas, which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. And I think that’s an important transition.
We’ve got to remain energy-independent. It gives us much more power and freedom than to be worried about what goes on in the Middle East. We have enough worries over there without having to worry about that. [emphasis added]
Her comments reflect the pro-shale sentiments in other speeches she has given, which were also released today. In a 2013 speech to Goldman Sachs, she called shale development “a gift”:
“I mean, the energy revolution in the United States is just a gift, and we’re able to exploit it and use it and it’s going to make us independent. We can have a North American energy system that will be unbelievably powerful. If we have enough of it we can be exporting and supporting a lot of our friends and allies.” [emphasis added]
In her remarks for Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd in 2013, she echoed this sentiment,
“I’ll make a couple of points, because it’s really an important question. Number one, because of changes in technology as all of you know, we are now producing more oil and gas than we ever have in our history and we’re on our way to be the number one producer in the world. Now, that is a tremendous opportunity, as long as we are smart about it.” [emphasis added]
She also noted that oil and gas production go hand in hand with renewable energy in a 2013 speech for Deutsche Bank:
“So I want to see us become the number one oil and gas producer while we also pursue a clean-energy agenda at the same time. I don’t think it has to be either or. I think it’s a mistake to think it does. I happen to think we are missing a great opportunity by not dealing with climate change, not just because it’s a rolling crisis that we’re dealing with, but also I think there’s a lot of money to be made from pioneering and manufacturing and exporting and creating a global market for how we deal with climate change.”
Needless to say, anti-fracking activists have not been pleased. Greenpeace, 350.org and other “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” groups attacked her position throughout the debate, as the below tweets demonstrate:
@greenpeaceusa @HillaryClinton 4 minutes on the biggest issue facing humanity
— PT81 (@PT9881) October 10, 2016
Hillary throws the climate base under the bus… and for what? Does she want us to stay home in the coming weeks?
— Jason Kowalski (@JasonK350) October 10, 2016
In the wake of the debate, Gasland director Josh Fox ran straight to the UK Guardian – the “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” publication – to engage in an anti-science rant claiming natural gas increases greenhouse gas emissions, even though every credible institution, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says exactly the opposite.
Clinton joins the ranks of many Democratic leaders who have called the “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” agenda too extreme — including President Obama, who said just last week about their goals, “We’ve got to live in the real world.”
What these emails show is just how far to the fringe anti-fracking activists are – so far, that their work only helps the Russian energy dependence agenda, rather than the cause of American energy security.