Yes

Exxon knew about climate change threat since 1981: Exxon scientists tells all

  • Posted on: 8 July 2015
  • By: JesseColeman

Turns out ExxonMobil, one of the world’s worst climate polluters, has known about the dangers of climate change since 1981. Yet the oil giant continues to be a major funder of climate change denial today. The new evidence comes from reports and emails written by Lenny Bernstein, ExxonMobil’s top climate scientist, who worked for Exxon for 30 years. The documents, which speak directly about the dangers of global warming from CO2 emissions were released by The Union of Concerned Scientists, in a report called “The Climate Deception Dossier." Exxon has spent well over $30 million attacking climate change science since Bernstein’s first warning. As Suzanne Goldenberg wrote in the Guardian:

Exxon, unlike other companies and the public at large in the early 1980s, was already aware of climate change – and the prospect of regulations to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, according to Bernstein’s account. National Academy of Science describing a consensus on climate change from the 1970s.

While we have known that Exxon was responsible for opposing climate change solutions and funding climate denial, now we know they knew the truth 27 years ago. Much like big tobacco did with the link between cigarettes and cancer, Exxon leadership has denied the harm the company has done long after the scientific evidence was clear. Incredibly, Exxon continues to play down their roll in climate change denial. In an interview with the Guardian, Exxon Spokesperson Richard Keil:

“rejected the idea that Exxon had funded groups promoting climate denial. “I am here to talk to you about the present,” he said. “We have been factoring the likelihood of some kind of carbon tax into our business planning since 2007. We do not fund or support those who deny the reality of climate change.”

Earlier this year, Greenpeace revealed that Exxon, along with other fossil fuel corporations like Southern Company, funded a notorious climate change denier named Willie Soon. In fact Exxon continued to fund Soon’s roundly debunked research well after the company promised Congress they would stop funding confusion on climate change in 2007. Exxon spent over $1 million on climate denial groups in 2014 alone.  

Known Associates: 
Industry: 
Company or Organization: 

Rick Scott's Florida: Climate Change Denial Part of "the Drill"

  • Posted on: 15 April 2015
  • By: JesseColeman

Newly released documents provide further indication that Florida officials were directed not to talk about climate change.

 

In an email exchange from April of 2014 obtained by a records request, a communications official working for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Florida instructed a scientist to “make no claims as to cause” of Florida’s sea level rise. The scientist responded “I know the drill,” suggesting that a prohibition on mentioning climate change was well established in the department.

The exchange came in response to a request for an interview from National Geographic. In a report to her superiors, the “administrator of external affairs” for the DEP, who was in charge of approving the interview request, expressed confidence that the scientist would “stay on message,” but offered to be “more hands on with this because of the sensitivity,” should her supervisors insist. Scientists have repeatedly warned rising sea levels pose a serious threat to Florida'a coast. A Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact paper that water in the Miami area could rise by 2 feet by the year 2060, due to climate change.

This latest evidence of a ban on mentioning climate change is congruent with earlier reports that Governor Rick Scott forbade Florida agencies from discussing the matter. As was first uncovered by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, DEP officials were told not to use the terms “climate change,” “global warming,” or “sustainability” once Rick Scott was elected governor in 2011. Rick Scott, a republican, has been a long time denier of climate change science. As the New Republic reported:

a reporter asked Scott whether man-made climate change "is significantly affecting the weather, the climate." Scott tried to change the subject and replied, "Well, I'm not a scientist." When asked by the Tampa Bay Times in 2010 whether he believed in climate change, Scott simply replied, "No."

Governor Rick Scott is well connected to the oil and gas billionaire Koch brothers’ world of climate change denial. Scott has attended secretive strategy meetings held by the Kochs, and has benefitted politically from Koch initiatives and funding. The Koch brothers have given over $79 million to groups that deny climate change science and oppose regulations on greenhouse gas pollution.  

Industry: 
Company or Organization: 

David Blackmon plays both sides on fracking regulations

  • Posted on: 8 April 2015
  • By: JesseColeman

Inside Climate News has revealed that a key leader of oil and gas industry front groups that oppose new fracking regulations may have been playing both sides of the issue. In an investigation into the funding of the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) work on oil and gas regulation, Inside Climate News discovered that a key EDF funder had hired FTI Consulting's David Blackmon to promote fracking regulations. Unbeknownst to his employer, Blackmon is a longtime oil industry consultant who is paid to oppose regulation of the fracking industry. 

The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation 

The funder in question is the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, established by the late George Mitchell, known as the "father of fracking." George Mitchell owned and operated Mitchell Energy, the first company to combine horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett shale, which sparked the "shale revolution." Mitchell created the foundation with part of the $3.5 billion sale of Mitchell Energy to Devon Energy. The Mitchell Foundation describes itself as "a grantmaking foundation that seeks innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems." While its goals seem noble, the fortunes of the foundation and the people who run it continue to be inexorably linked to the success of the oil and gas industry. The foundation itself has more than $38 million in stock in Devon Energy. Three of George Mitchell's beneficiaries own over $21 million of Devon Energy apiece. Altogether the Mitchell Foundation and the Mitchell heirs own over one fifth of Devon Energy. One such heir is Todd Mitchell, who sat on the foundation's board for years and worked for Devon Energy for a decade. He currently runs oil and gas production companies and an investment business built on the assumption that gas will provide the baseload for electricity generation around the globe. The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation has funded a series of greenwashing efforts that have portrayed the shale and fracking industry as safe, clean, and reliable. These efforts include an online-based "virtual reality" well pad that makes no mention of water or air quality concerns. In fact, the "virtual well pad" does not mention any of the environmental or social impacts that communities near shale drilling experience. However, the Mitchell Foundation has also dedicated millions of dollars to groups that are trying to "green" the shale industry, like the Environmental Defense Fund. Since 2012 the foundation has given over $1 million to EDF. The funding was for studies of methane emissions from the fracking industry. These studies, which have been criticized as incomplete, are built on a base assumption that the drilling can be done "right." They have also led to some of the first federal regulations on the shale industry, including the methane regulations announced by the Obama administration in early 2015. The foundation also gives to a range of environmental groups, some of which are strongly opposed to fracking and oil and gas development, like the Tides Foundation and the Sierra Club. 

David Blackmon and FTI Consulting's Conflicts of Interest

 


David Blackmon
David Blackmon

 

While the Mitchell family's finances are tied to the success of the gas industry in general, the foundation's funding of efforts to limit pollution from fracking appears genuine. That is what makes the Mitchell Foundation's hiring of David Blackmon and FTI Consulting so peculiar. In 2012 the Mitchell Foundation selected Blackmon of FTI Consulting to run the foundation's gas strategy. FTI Consulting is a PR firm that has worked with the shale and fracking industry to limit shale regulations by attacking journalists and community groups. FTI Consulting runs Energy in Depth, an oil and gas industry front group that maintains a hard line of attack against those who would regulate or criticize its corporate funders. The Mitchell Foundation paid FTI Consulting $120,000 to "start a dialogue between fossil fuel concerns and environmentalists around natural gas." Blackmon himself has long been a power player in the world of pro-fracking PR. Blackmon started his career as an oil industry flack, doing communications work and lobbying for Shell, Tesoro, and various other oil and gas companies. More recently, he has had top positions with nearly every major pro-fracking front group, including the Consumer Energy Alliance, Energy in Depth, and the industry's biggest lobbying arm, America's Natural Gas Alliance. That Blackmon was in charge of the Mitchell Foundation's gas strategy is troubling. His career has been dedicated to obstructing and delaying regulation on the oil and gas industry, especially in regard to fracking. While working for Mitchell, he led industry-funded groups that opposed the very methane regulations he was hired by Mitchell to promote. It is also troubling because of Blackmon's personal denial of the science of climate change, and his aggressive denial of the environmental and health impacts of fracking, which he called an "attention-grabbing boogeyman for all manner of nutcases, chicken littles and radicalized environmental organizations." Tweets from Blackmon's Twitter account reinforce the fact that he denies some of the basic pieces of climate-change science:

 

 

Fracking has been shown to pose a serious threat to the climate, given that methane, natural gas' primary component, traps 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 does. Blackmon and FTI Consulting's anti-regulatory and pro-fracking work constitute a potentially major undisclosed conflict of interest. Marilou Hastings, the communications manager for the Mitchell Foundation, admitted to Inside Climate that before settling on FTI, she approached and was turned down by "more than a dozen consulting firms" due to conflicts of interest. When she approached FTI Consulting and Blackmon, they not only accepted the job but failed to reveal their anti-regulatory work to Hastings. Inside Climate News writes that Hastings "didn't know of FTI Consulting's ties to anti-regulatory efforts." Furthermore, at the same time that Blackmon was being paid by the Mitchell Foundation, Energy in Depth, which is run by FTI Consulting and boasts Blackmon as a "field director," attacked the very studies Blackmon was paid to promote. All the while, Blackmon was using his position as a contributor to Forbes to promote the Mitchell Foundation's work without disclosing his financial incentives. This potentially violated Forbesconflicts of interest clause. This raises the question: Did David Blackmon use his position with the Mitchell Foundation, in which he was tasked with promoting regulation, to feed information to his colleagues at FTI Consulting, which is paid to oppose regulation?

Industry: 
Company or Organization: 

EPA's National Study of Fracking Crippled by Industry Pressure

  • Posted on: 5 March 2015
  • By: JesseColeman

Fracking companies had extensive influence over a critical study of the groundwater impacts from fracking, according to insider documents released by Greenpeace. In 2010, amidst growing worries about the environmental impacts from fracking, Congress compelled the EPA to conduct a study. The study was supposed to be a definitive look at the issue, exploring if and how fracking contaminates groundwater supplies. That study was supposed to be released in 2012, but has been delayed until 2016. Documents released as part of Greenpeace investigation have found that the EPA was forced to rely on shale companies like Chesapeake Energy for data, funding, and access to fracking sites. The shale industry in turn constrained the study, limiting what could be studied and when. These constraints led to the eventual cancellation of perhaps the most important part of the study - the "prospective" section.  

Industry Actions leads to the Cancellation of Science

When the EPA's study was first conceptualized, it was supposed to include retrospective and prospective portions. The retrospective pieces would examine data collected by the industry in the past. The prospective section was where new scientific study would be done. The prospective studies were supposed to take baseline data from groundwater in areas that had not yet been drilled, and compare them to samples taken after drilling and fracking occurred. This type of prospective study, which starts pre-fracking, has never been done before and represented a major advance in the scientific study of fracking's impacts. The prospective portions would be the most reliable way to determine whether oil and gas development contaminates surface water and nearby aquifers. One EPA scientist told Inside Climate News "The single most important thing you could do is prospective studies.” However, the EPA was reliant on two shale companies for access to areas that had not yet been fracked, an arrangement that led to the full cancellation of the entire prospective section of the EPA's study. Documents obtained by Greenpeace show that Chesapeake Energy, one of the companies that initially agreed to cooperate with the EPA on the prospective portions of the study, actually drilled wells at their prospective study site, before the EPA was able to collect baseline data. This effectively torpedoed the entire project, and attempts at replacing the location, originally in Louisiana, with one in Oklahoma, also ended in failure. The correspondence between Chesapeake and EPA includes a draft press release announcing the cancellation of the prospective study in Louisiana conducted with Chesapeake. The release blames the cancellation on  "scheduling conflicts, " resulting in Chesapeake drilling the well before baseline data could be collected. The press release was jointly edited by EPA and Chesapeake, but never released to the public. The EPA would never publicly announce the cancellation of the prospective studies, and only after increased pressure from Greenpeace did they reference it's cancellation deep on the study's website. The second prospective study, to be conducted with Range Resources, has also been cancelled. The cancellation of the prospective pieces has had a major impact on the usefulness of the study. "We won’t know anything more in terms of real data than we did five years ago," said Geoffrey Thyne, a geochemist and a member of the EPA's 2011 Science Advisory Board, a group of independent scientists who reviewed the draft plan of the study. (from Inside Climate News)

Water Supply Problems

Kids in Pennsylvania hold tap water contaminated by nearby shale drilling

Delay and Obstruct - Study attacked on all sides by Industry

The documents reveal a number of instances where the fracking industry delayed and obstructed the EPA’s attempts to study fracking. The industry waged an attack from every side, political, scientific, and procedural. As Sharon Kelly writes for Desmog, "Watered-down federal research weakens the possibility for future regulations. It also has been used to justify loopholes in federal environmental laws for the oil and gas industry." Kelly points out the 3 step process that various industries have employed to impact unwanted studies:

Step one: using a rhetoric of collaboration and “non-adversarial” relationships, the industry effectively establishes inside access to what otherwise should be an independent research process. This allows the industry to meddle with study methodologies, pick and chose its own favored experts, and distort findings. Step two: through inside access, the industry affords itself the authority to contest, after the fact, any findings that it is not able to water down on the front end. Step three: this access also allows industry the ability to impose infeasible methodological demands on the agency, slowing the process to a crawl and at times forcing the agency to give up trying to get answers to certain key questions.

Fracking for natural gas in Pennsylvania.

This Pennsylvania resident's water changed color and taste after a fracked well was placed near her property.

Here is a list of findings from the documents:

  • Chesapeake only allowed for baseline sampling after the fracking wells had initially been drilled, rather than beforehand, as EPA scientists preferred. Without having baseline data pre-drilling, the industry can claim that contaminates existed there before their drills pierced the aquifer. The Industry has claimed this in multiple cases where groundwater impacts from fracking have occurred.
  • Chesapeake demanded the EPA reduce the depth of their study from 300 to 150 feet, and demanded that the EPA focus solely on the fracking stage, not drilling, completion, or other stages where contamination can occur.
  • API and ANGA tried to have their own consultants shadow the EPA's scientists during the study. This proved to be distracting to the scientists conducting the study.
  • At the same time, Chesapeake and Range, the two companies that were supposed to cooperating with EPA on the prospective study, were attacking other EPA studies of water contamination cases. While initially finding evidence of contamination from Chesapeake Energy wells in Pennsylvania and Range Resources wells in Texas, The EPA never pursued any regulatory action.
  • Chesapeake was, as one EPA email put it “part of the team here” when it came to the water study.
  • The Inspector General of the EPA tried to investigate “the EPA’s and states’ ability to manage potential threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing.” In response, pro-fracking Congressional representatives demanded the investigation “immediately end.”

As Neela Banerjee writes in Inside Climate News: "The industry balked at the scope of the study and sowed doubts about the EPA's ability to deliver definitive findings. In addition, concerns about the safety of drinking water conflicted with the Obama administration's need to spur the economy out of recession while expanding domestic energy production."

A Chesapeake drilling site warns of water contamination

A Chesapeake drilling site warns of water contamination

Does Fracking Contaminate Water Supplies?

Studies conducted since the EPA’s study began have found evidence that fracking affects groundwater supplies. A 2013 Duke University study found that within a kilometer of fracking wells, methane concentration in drinking-water wells was 6 times higher than the surrounding area.  A University of Texas-Arlington study from 2013 found elevated levels of arsenic and heavy metals in groundwater near fracking sites in Texas’ Barnett Shale. See Greenpeace's fracking page for a list of groundwater contamination incidents.

Industry: 

Meet The Couple Behind Pro-Fracking Front Groups in Colorado

  • Posted on: 21 October 2014
  • By: JesseColeman

 

A Greenpeace investigation has uncovered close ties between a Colorado political couple and at least six oil and gas industry front groups that have been fighting  state regulations designed to protect the health of its citizens and the environment.

The husband and wife team are ex-state senator and onetime Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Josh Penry and his wife, founder of republican PR and fundraising firm Starboard Group, Kristin Strohm. Colorado has emerged as a key battleground in the national debate over shale drilling and fracking. The state’s oil and gas industry has over 50,000 hydraulically fractured wells, and plans to drill many thousands more every year into the foreseeable future. These wells have caused severe water and air pollution problems, and have sparked a grassroots movement against drilling and fracking across the state. Concern over pollution from fracking culminated in a series of local laws to ban or regulate fracking, efforts that sent shockwaves through the shale industry. To combat the growing threat of local control over drilling practices, the shale industry began funding political strategies to undermine local action against drilling. Enter Penry and Strohm, who who helped develop the shale industry’s sophisticated astroturf campaign strategy that was created in concert with legal strategies to override popularly-supported local drilling restrictions. (Astroturf is a term used to describe fake “grassroots” groups that are conceived and paid for by corporations or public relations firms to advance a business or political interest.)

 

Penry photo

 

Josh Penry

Josh Penry has strong connections to both Colorado politics and the oil and gas industry. He became the youngest person ever elected to the state Senate in 2006. While a state senator, he sponsored and passed legislation designed to benefit the drilling industry by boosting the use of gas-fired electric power plants. His biggest achievement was HB 1365, a bill designed to help Xcel Energy build gas-fired power plants. The bill was called the ”Clean Air Clean Jobs Bill,” and sold as a boon for the environment because it eased the transition from coal fired power to gas fired power. However, Penry made the intentions behind the legislation clear by promising a 15% increase in gas drilling in the state if the bill was passed. Josh Penry is apparently unconcerned about the enormous contribution that gas extraction and combustion makes to climate change, explaining during a debate that it doesn’t "keep [him] up at night." However, studies of highly fracked areas in Colorado raise alarms for the climate. One recent study of the Front Range drilling area in Colorado found a methane leakage rate of 19.3 tons per hour. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, at least 86 times as powerful as CO2 at disrupting the climate. After surprising his staff and supporters by backing out of the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2009 and serving out his time as State Senator, Penry became Vice President of EIS Solutions, a public relations and political strategy consulting firm that specializes in “grassroots coalition building.” The group has been a key cog in the fracking industry’s pushback against community resistance and the state of Colorado’s gas regulations. EIS advertises their ability to create a “path to advocacy.” In practical terms, this means EIS will create non-profit and fake grassroots groups to give the illusion of widespread public support for oil and gas drilling. EIS has been criticized for repeatedly stepping outside of respectable practices, including one case in 2013 when they were caught faking signatures on an anti-regulation petition. EIS has long standing contracts with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the leading industry lobbying group in the state. A Greenpeace investigation has uncovered the following non-profit front groups tied to EIS solutions: Colorado Liberty Alliance - shares a phone number with EIS phone, and advocates against local control. Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale - shares an address with EIS solutions and promotes drilling. Grow Our Western Economy - has an EIS Solutions phone number and the chairman is former EIS Solutions employee, now president of the Koch Brothers front group Americans for Prosperity, Justin Zvonek. The group attacks people who promote local control over drilling. The groups listed above represents only those created by EIS employees that have registered as non-profits. EIS also creates groups that have not registered as tax-exempt non-profits, thereby avoiding reporting requirements.

 Vital for Colorado

One such group is Vital for Colorado, a well-funded and highly active pro-fracking front group. While the Vital for Colorado website makes no direct mention of Penry, he serves as spokesman and strategist for the group, and coordinates messaging with other anti-regulation groups through Vital for Colorado. In September, Penry attended a meeting in Denver where he spoke to an audience of State Policy Network groups from around the country about the industry’s strategy to fight oil and gas drilling restrictions in Colorado. Josh Penry’s ties to Vital for Colorado run deep. Both EIS employee Dan Haley and Penry’s wife Kristin Strohm sit on the Advisory board of Vital for Colorado. Vital for Colorado’s website is registered to Charity Meinhart, a web developer that works for both EIS Solutions and Starboard Group according to her LinkdIn account.

. Strohm photo

Kristin Strohm

Kristin Strohm is the managing partner at her own pubic relations firm, Starboard Group. Strohm, who is an advisor for Vital for Colorado, has also set up other front groups that work in concert with Vital for Colorado to oppose drilling regulations. The Western Colorado Jobs Alliance and The Common Sense Policy Roundtable Forum  were created by Starboard Group to oppose local control over shale drilling and fracking. Both groups also publicly support Vital for Colorado, creating a seemingly independent network of reinforcing voices that oppose fracking regulations, while being centrally coordinated by Strohm and Penry. Strohm worked for Penry in his run for State Senate in 2006. Penry and Strohm married in 2012, shortly after his divorce from his wife, whom he had married in 1999.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

The Penry and Strohm team both have connections to the national effort to reduce regulation on the oil industry through the creation of front groups, bottom-lined by oil and gas billionaires Charles and David Koch. Kristin Strohm has successfully solicited major funding from the Kochs. While Strohm was the finance director for Mike Coffman’s congressional campaign, Coffman benefited from ads run by Americans for Prosperity supporting his campaign. Through Strohm, he also received the maximum possible donation allowed by law from David Koch. Starboard Group’s website boasts of working for the Koch Brothers' flagship front group, Americans for Prosperity. Strohm has also hired former Koch Interns to the Starboard Group. A former director of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, a front group created by Strohm, attended the secretive 2010 Koch strategy meeting in Aspen. Penry’s EIS Solutions also has close ties to the Koch network. The director for Colorado’s Americans For Prosperity chapter is a former EIS Solutions employee, Dustin Zvonek. Like the other front groups in Penry’s orbit, Zvonek and AFP have been consistently working against local control of drilling regulations.

Known Associates: 
Industry: 
Company or Organization: 

Climate Science Denier Chris Stewart now Head of Congressional Committee on Climate Science

  • Posted on: 20 March 2013
  • By: JesseColeman

Chris Stewart, climate change science denier

 

Chris Stewart, a republican from Utah, was recently appointed Chair of the House subcommittee on Environment.

 

This means that Congressman Stewart now has dominion over the EPA, climate change research, and "all activities related to climate." According to the House Science Committees website (of which Stewart's subcommitee is a part), the chair of the Environment subcommittee oversees:

 

"all matters relating to environmental research; Environmental Protection Agency research and development; environmental standards; climate change research and development; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including all activities related to weather, weather services, climate, the atmosphere, marine fisheries, and oceanic research;…"

Unfortunately for the EPA, NOAA, and anyone worried about climate change, Chris Stewart is a climate science denier. Mr. Stewart believes there is "insufficient science" to determine if climate change is caused by humans. He believes this in spite of the fact that the EPA, NOAA, and all experts in the field (which he now oversees), disagrees with him. 

For the record, Chris Stewart has no advanced degrees in science. However, before running for congress he was owner and CEO of Shipley Group, a company that trains government workers on environmental issues. Shipley Group actually runs a training on climate change science, and according to the Shipley Group website "Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to understand basic climate change science." Clearly Mr. Stewart has never taken his company's training.

Ties to Fossil Fuels

Though Stewart seems to ignore climate change science (while his company profits by teaching it), he does not ignore the fossil fuel industry. In fact he is quite sympathetic to the plight of oil and gas companies. His campaign website claims:

"I am the CEO of a company that works extensively with independent energy producers. I understand how difficult it is to get a drilling permit on federal lands. It is painfully slow, incoherently arbitrary, and always expensive."

Stewart's "extensive" knowledge of the fossil fuel industry is not a surprise.  His brother, Tim Stewart is a lobbyist for American Capitol Group, a washington DC lobbying firm. American capitol Group lobbies for fossil Fuel interests, like the Western Energy Alliance, a group mainly comprised of fracking and oil companies. Tim Stewart also lobbied for EnergyNorthAmerica, a company he cofounded to lobby for the Fossil Fuel Industry. One EnergyNorthAmerica slide presentation reads:

"The fact that fossil energy and mining are viewed by political "elites" with disfavor, a view driven by acolytes of radical environmentalism, has resulted in damaging laws and regulation and general neglect"

Unsurprisingly, the fossil fuel industry does not ignore Chris Stewart either. One of Stewart's books (which were published and praised by Glenn Beck), is recommended reading at Koch Industries.  Stewart received the maximum possible campaign contribution from ExxonMobil and Koch Industries during his last campaign. He also received considerable support from several Koch and Exxon funded SuperPACs. All told, he received more funding from dirty energy companies and their superPACs than any other single source.

See Chris Stewart's PolluterWatch profile for more information.

 

Known Associates: 
Industry: 
Company or Organization: 

"Anti-Greta" Naomi Seibt Marched with Neo-Nazis and Promotes White Nationalists

  • Posted on: 10 March 2020
  • By: Connor Gibson

Photo credit: @antifalinkems, via wiedertaeufer.ms

“Anti-Greta” Climate Denier Naomi Seibt Marched with Neo-Nazis and Promotes White Nationalism is cross-posted on the Greenpeace USA website.

Greenpeace USA's Valentina Stackl assisted with editing and German translation for this article.

Over the last week, The Heartland Institute – an infamous climate denial think tank - has been rolled with not one, but two scandals.

HuffPost's Alexander Kaufman revealed that the Heartland Institute laid off more than half of its staff, who accuse Heartland leadership of financial mismanagement.

But HuffPost called out something else that went unmentioned by far too many media outlets:

Heartland's contractor and YouTube personality Naomi Seibt marched with Neo-Nazis and promotes white nationalists unapologetically.

According to Heartland's recently-departed staff, Naomi Seibt was seen as a ticket out of Heartland's financial troubles. It is unclear if Heartland is okay with Seibt's history of marching with violent racists and promoting white ethnocentrism could end out being more trouble for Heartland than she is worth as a fresh new voice for climate deniers to rally around.

The 19-year old Seibt was coined the "Anti-Greta" by Heartland, which wants a puffed-up foil to Greta Thunberg. Thunberg, the 17-year old global sensation, has dedicated her life to broadcasting the increasing urgency of the climate crisis. Thunburg's statements are consistent with what scientists have attempted to warn us for decades, as she meticulously read reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Seibt simply rejects the warnings of scientists, choosing instead to broadcast her contrarian opinions on YouTube.

And that’s not where the differences between these two ends. We've pulled together a research brief on Seibt to help journalists and allies.

Naomi Seibt Marched with Neo-Nazis in 2018:

This photo was taken by Anti-Fascist activists in Münster, Germany, at a 2018 anti-abortion march that involved a contingency of Neo-Nazis, including Robert Malcoci of the Neo-Nazi Malcoci family. The "1,000 White Crosses" rally, or 1000 Kreuze Marsch, in German, was not organized by Neo-Nazis, but it included at least one bloc of people from such groups, as the photo above shows.

This March 4, 2020 post from the German website Münsterland rechtsaußen includes more information and references on the 1000 Kreuze Marsch:

"Alongside Seibt marched members of the ‘Identitarian Movement’ and the ‘Fraternity Franconia,’ a local far-right fraternity. Amongst them Robert Malcoci, a well-known neo-Nazi and activist of the ‘Identitarian Movement.’ [3,4] Following her participation in this fundamentalist rally, she posted a video about the ‘Pride Weeks’ where she addressed her concerns about homosexuality and the LGBTQI * community."

On February 28, 2020, Seibt denied attending any Neo-Nazi rallies, when questioned on camera by Jamie Corey at Documented--a watchdog group that I frequently collaborate with.

At #CPAC2020, I asked “Anti-Greta” @SeibtNaomi—who works for the climate denial, Mercer-funded @HeartlandInst—about anti-semitic comments that came to light in the @Guardian. Here’s what she said. pic.twitter.com/dNmUBDTpnJ

— Jamie Corey (@JamieMCorey) February 28, 2020

What struck me most about Seibt's reaction to the question was this indication that Seibt doesn't believe you can be "100% German" if you are Jewish or Muslim:

"I don't care if you're a Jew, or a Muslim, or 100% German."

Naomi Seibt's Anti-Semitic Comment After Yom Kippur Synagogue Shooting

Thanks in particular to a report for The Guardian by Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Emily Holden, U.S. press began catching on to Sebit's ties to white nationalists.

The article included a comment made by Seibt in an online video following a shooting at a Synagogue in Germany during Yom Kippur:

In a YouTube discussion last year that was highlighted in a report by the German broadcaster ZDF, Seibt discussed an attack on a synagogue in Halle that killed two people who were outside the temple, and said Jews were considered to be “at the top” of groups who were seen as being oppressed. “Ordinary Germans”, she said, were “at the bottom”. Muslims, she added, were somewhere in between.

The remarks were part of a video discussion that appears to have been deleted. They were seen by some experts as saying that Germans had less pity for “ordinary German” victims of crime than for Jews and Muslims. A portion of the discussion was included in a report by ZDF and is still available online.

A longer translation of this quote was reported by Jennifer Dhlouy for Bloomberg:

“The normal German consumer is at the bottom, so to speak. Then the Muslims come somewhere in between. And the Jew is at the top. That is the suppression characteristic,” she said in comments first reported by The Guardian.

Naomi Seibt Praise For Canadian White Nationalist

The Guardian article by Kirchgaessner and Holden included another concerning statement made by Seibt regarding a well known White Nationalist in Canada. The article was published the same day that Seibt spoke on a panel at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, hosted by the American Conservative Union.

In another YouTube interview describing her embrace of “views that were outside the mainstream”, Seibt referred to the Canadian alt-right internet activist Stefan Molyneux as an “inspiration”.

Molyneux has been described as an “alleged cult leader who amplifies scientific racism, eugenics and white supremacism” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremism and white supremacy.

Business Insider reporter Anthony L. Fisher was at CPAC and asked Seibt about her praise for Molyneux:

During a Q&A session, Insider read Molyneux's following quote to Seibt: "I've always been skeptical of the ideas of white nationalism, of identitarianism and white identity. However, I am an empiricist, and I could not help but notice that I could have peaceful, free, easy, civilized, and safe discussions in what is essentially an all-white country."

Insider asked Seibt if she was aware of Molyneux's statement and, if so, still considered herself a fan of his. 

"I am still a fan of Molyneux's, absolutely," Seibt replied.

Following this reporting, acknowledgement of Seibt's support for White Nationalism was picked up by the Washington Post, the New York Times, HuffPost, and global outlets like the UK Daily Mail and Yahoo! News Australia.

Naomi Seibt and the Ethnopluarlist "Identitarian Movement"

According to the March, 2020 post from Münsterland rechtsaußen:

All rhetorical whitewashing put aside, Seibt's concept of nationalism resembles the concept of "ethnopluralism" which is the main concept of the "Identitarian Movement", a far-right group from Europe. It is based on the racist conspiracy theory of the "great replacement" by the French far-right academic Renaud Camus. The far-right terrorists who carried out the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and in Halle, Germany, partially based their manifestos on this racist, anti-Semitic and anti-feminist theory which is also popular amongst the politicians, members and supporters of the "Alternative for Germany" and other far-right movements in Germany. (Google translation)

Naomi Seibt, Karoline Seibt and the German AFD Party

The German Alternative for Germany political party, aka "Alternative für Deutschland" or AfD, is known for its scapegoating of Jews, Muslims, and refugees. The AfD's affiliates promote perspectives that many Germans say contributed to nationalist terrorist acts like the Halle Synagogue shooting in October, 2019.

Naomi Seibt and her mother, Karoline Seibt, both have deep ties to the AfD party. And as mentioned in the new HuffPost report,

Her [Naomi Seibt] mother, Karoline Seibt, is an attorney who works with Alternative für Deutschland, Germany’s far-right nationalist party with ties to neo-Nazis. In 2018, the mother was pictured partying with Milo Yiannopoulos, the far-right former star columnist at Breitbart who, according to BuzzFeed News, pushed white nationalist ideology into mainstream U.S. politics.

The Guardian's David Smith was the first journalist in the U.S. to report on Seibt's connections to the AfD political party in Germany:

[Seibt] was pushed into the limelight by leading figures on the German far right and her mother, a lawyer, has represented politicians from the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party in court.

Seibt had her first essay published by the “anti-Islamisation” blog Philosophia Perennis and was championed by Martin Sellner, leader of the Austrian Identitarian Movement, who has been denied entry to the UK and US because of his political activism.

A Facebook post by the AfD youth wing names Seibt as a member and she spoke at a recent AfD event, though she has denied membership of the party.

In May 2019 she posted her first video on YouTube, reading out verses submitted for a poetry slam competition organised by the AfD.

The March, 2020 post from Münsterland rechtsaußen mentions an AfD event featuring Seibt and another speaker who appeared to express pride for his parents' "achievements" during the Nazi Germany era: (see Google translation):

[Naomi Seibt] was invited as a speaker to the New Year's welcome event of the local branch of the far-right party "Alternative for Germany" in February 2020 [7]. Rüdiger Lucassen, one of the speakers at the event stated that "we are proud of the achievements of our mothers and fathers and not ashamed of them". [8] Since Lucassen was born in 1951, his parents were part of the generation that enabled, supported and committed crimes during the reign of the Nazis in Germany.

More examples of Karoline and Naomi Seibt's work with the AfD, and with white nationalists, is chronicled by Correctiv, Münsterland rechtsaußen (here and here), and Die Wiedertäufer.

No More Excuses to Ignore Neo-Nazi Ties

The confusion of Seibt's sudden entrance to the U.S. media market and the complications of translating material published in Germany are no longer an excuse.

Heartland rejoiced at the initial U.S. press coverage of Seibt. The group rejoiced over "fair" coverage in this Washington Post that debuted Seibt to U.S. audiences before a speech at CPAC two weekends ago. The article said nothing of Seibt's thinly-veiled support for White Nationalism.

Neither did Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, which hosted Seibt live on their program last week with no mention of her ties to Neo-Nazis and racist white nationalists. Instead, Morgan apologized to Seibt for slightly misrepresenting the particular aspects of climate science that she denies, which Heartland has used to continue promoting Seibt.

In the era of Putin and Trump, of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, of Charleston, South Carolina and Charlottesville, Virginia, we have no more excuses to misunderstand this dynamic. Enough false equivalence has been published.

It's time for reporters and editors to carefully include evidence of Seibt's ties to Neo-Nazis when reporting, or not report on her at all.

This article was cross-published on the Greenpeace USA website: “Anti-Greta” Climate Denier Naomi Seibt Marched with Neo-Nazis and Promotes White Nationalism

Industry: 
Company or Organization: 

State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

  • Posted on: 18 February 2019
  • By: Connor Gibson

Image and related article via The Real News Network.

Greenpeace USA. Updated June 29, 2020.

Lawmakers in numerous states are introducing bills that would increase criminal penalties for people who trespass "critical infrastructure" facilities, such as oil and gas pipelines, power plants, and petrochemical refineries. 

According to many of these legislators, these bills are a reaction to widespread protests of oil and gas infrastructure. Some of the protests have captured the nation's attention, such as the indigenous-led protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota and in Iowa against the Dakota Access Pipeline, opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline from Nebraska to Texas, protests of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana, and opposition to several pipeline projects in Pennsylvania.

Thirteen states have enacted some form of these bills into law: North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Mississippi, in chronological order.

South Dakota agreed to nullify enforcement of the first "riot boosting" law passed in 2019, as part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Other laws passed in South Dakota remain unaffected, and more laws have since been enacted in 2020, inluding a different version of the law that was nullified in 2019.

This effort to add felony-level penalties to peaceful protestors does not appear to be in reaction from the constituents of the politicians sponsoring such legislation. In contrast, there is much evidence of coordinated pressure from the oil and gas industry, electric utilities, and chemical companies. According to The Intercept, 85 percent of the nation's "critical infrastructure" is privately owned.

Many of these bills are virtually identical. Several companies and lobbying organizations used the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) to put these policies into the hands of legislators. These model "critical infrastructure" anti-protest bills adopted by ALEC and by CSG would allow prosecutors to impose large fines and felonies, not only on individuals who are arrested, but organizations that are deemed to be supporting those individuals. 

Offenses such as vandalism and violence are already illegal in these states and grounds for prosecution. Nonviolent offenses, like trespassing, are also already illegal in these states. People arrested for protesting oil and gas infrastructure--before these "critical infrastructure" bills became law in several states--already faced severe legal threats. Many people were jailed, imprisoned, and fined for nonviolent activities that occurred during protests of petrochemical pipelines.

In addition to state legislation, oil companies are using the Association of Pipe Lines (AOPL) to put specific language for a national bill into the hands of members of Congress.

The following pages assemble a variety of information on these state bills, and the model bills, organized by state, and then in reverse chronological order. This research is an attempt to measure how polluting companies are using a combination of lobbying, state legislative consortiums, and campaign cash to afford extra legal enforcement against protests of oil, gas, and electric infrastructure. Greenpeace relied heavily on the US Protest Law Tracker, published by the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL). 

LIST OF STATES WITH OIL & GAS INFRASTRUCTURE ANTI-PROTEST BILLS: 

COVID-19 Update: See the current status of state legislatures, courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

* = bill(s) passed into law

These pages will continue to be updated with new information.

TIMELINE: OIL & GAS INFRASTRUCTURE ANTI-PROTEST BILLS

2020:

June 25, 2020: Mississippi HB 1243 signed by Governor (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

June 15, 2020: Mississippi HB 1243 passed by Senate (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

June 12, 2020: Louisiana HB 197 vetoed by Governor (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

May 29, 2020: Louisiana HB 197 passed by Senate (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 22, 2020: Louisiana HB 197 passed by House (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 18, 2020: Alabama SB 45 died as legislature adjourned (see Alabama Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 4, 2020: Alabama SB 45 introduced and read in House (see Alabama Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)
 

March 25, 2020: West Virginia HB 4615 signed by Governor (see West Virginia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

March 23, 2020: South Dakota HB 1117 signed by Governor (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

March 18, 2020: South Dakota SB 151 signed by Governor (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

March 16, 2020: Kentucky HB 44 signed by Governor (Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

March 12, 2020: Alabama SB 45 passed by Senate (see Alabama Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

March 4, 2020: Mississippi HB 1243 passed by House (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

February 27, 2020: South Dakota SB 151 passed by Senate (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 18, 2020: South Dakota HB 1117 passed by House (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 17, 2020: Mississippi HB 1243 introduced (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 17, 2020: Minnesota SF 3230 introduced, concurrent with HF 2966 (Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 14, 2020: Illinois SB 3484 introduced (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 13, 2020: West Virginia HB 4615 passed by House (see West Virginia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 11, 2020: Minnesota HF 2966 introduced (Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 11, 2020: Minnesota SF 2011 and HF 2241 carried over into 2020 legislative session from 2019 session (Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 10, 2020: Kentucky HB 44 passed by House, referred to Senate (Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

February 4, 2020: South Dakota SB 151 introduced (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

January 30, 2020: West Virginia HB 4615 introduced and referred to House Judiciary Committee (see West Virginia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 29, 2020: Alabama SB 45 and HB 36 filed (see Alabama Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 29, 2020: Ohio SB 33 passed final House committee hearing, awaits full House vote, already passed in Senate. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 29, 2020: South Dakota HB 1117 introduced (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 7, 2020: Kentucky HB 44 carried into 2020 legislative session from 2019 Bill Request 201 prefiled in August, 2019 (Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 1, 2020: Pennsylvania carried into 2020 legislative session from 2019 session. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 1, 2020: Ohio SB 33 carried into 2020 legislative session from 2019 session (Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

January 1, 2020: Illinois HB 1633 remains "tabled" in House after passing Senate in 2019 legislative session.  (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2019: 

November 20, 2019: Wisconsin AB 426 signed by Governor Tony Evers. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

November 5, 2019: Wisconsin AB 426 passed in Senate voice vote. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

October 24, 2019: Several provisions of South Dakota's "riot boosting" law will no longer be enforced, following a court settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union. (see American Civil Liberties Union).

October 10, 2019: Wisconsin AB 426 passed in House vote, referred to Senate. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

October 8, 2019: Pennsylvania SB 887 introduced. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

September 18, 2019: South Dakota SB 198 "riot boosting" law blocked by US District Judge Lawrence Pierson via preliminary injunction (see Mother Jones and Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

September 12, 2019: Wisconsin AB 426 introduced. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

September 5, 2019: Wisconsin SB 386 introduced. (see Wisconsin Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

July 11, 2019: Missouri HB 355 signed into law by Governor. (see Missouri Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

June 14, 2019: Texas HB 3557 signed into law by Governor. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

May 29, 2019: Illinois HB 1633 tabled in Senate. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 20, 2019: Texas HB 3557 passed in Senate, previously passed in House(see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 20, 2019: Minnesota legislature entered recess. SF 2011 carried into 2020 session. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 15, 2019: Tennessee SB 0264 signed into law by Governor. (see Tennessee Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 15, 2019: Missouri HB 355 passed in Senate with amendment adding "critical infrastructure" language. (see Missouri Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 6, 2019: Indiana SB 471 signed by Governor as Act 471. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 1, 2019: Ohio SB 33 passed in Senate. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Apr. 30, 2019: Tennessee SB 0264 passed in House, previously passed in Senate. (see Tennessee Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 11, 2019: North Dakota SB 2044 signed into law by Governor. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 11, 2019: Illinois HB 1633 passed in House. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Mar. 27, 2019: South Dakota SB 189 signed by Governor Kristi Noem (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 25, 2019: North Dakota SB 2044 passed in House, prevously passed in Senate. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 19, 2019: Indiana SB 471 passed in House, previously passed in Senate. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 7, 2019: Minnesota HF 2248 introduced, concurrent with SF 2011. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 7, 2019: Texas SB 1993 filed. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 7, 2019: South Dakota SB 189 passed in Senate and in House (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 6, 2019: Texas HB 3557 filed. (see Texas Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 5, 2019: Mississippi SB 2754 died in House commiitee. (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 5, 2019: Kentucky SB 238 died in Senate committee. (see Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 4, 2019: Minnesota SF 2011 introduced. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 4, 2019: South Dakota SB 189 introduced. (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Feb. 15. 2019: Kentucky SB 238 passed in House. (See Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 12, 2019: Ohio SB 33 introduced. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 12, 2019 Idaho SB 1090 died in Senate committee. (see Idaho Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 11, 2019: Idaho SB 1090 introduced and read first time on February 11, 2019. (see Idaho Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 11, 2019: Mississippi SB 2754 passed in Senate. (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 7, 2019: Indiana SB 471 passed in Senate. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 7, 2019: Illinois SB 1304 introduced, concurrent with HB 1633. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 5, 2019: Kentucky SB 238 introduced. (See Kentucky Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 4, 2019: Wyoming HB 10 died in committee(see Wyoming Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Jan. 31, 2019: Illinois HB 1633 introduced. (see Illinois Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 23, 2019: Missouri SB 293 introduced, later folded into HB 355, above. (see Missouri Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 19, 2019: Mississippi SB 2754 introduced. (see Mississippi Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 17, 2019: Pennsylvania Senators announced they will reintroduce SB 652. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 14, 2019: Indiana SB 471 introduced. (see Indiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 3, 2019: North Dakota SB 2044 introduced. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2018:

Dec. 6, 2018: Ohio SB 250 passed Senate, then died in House committee. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Oct. 10, 2018: Pennsylvania SB 652 died in House committee. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Aug. 8, 2018: Louisiana Act 692 (HB 727) officially went into effect. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jun. 13, 2018: Pennsylvania SB 652 referred to House committee. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

May 30, 2018: Louisiana HB 727 signed by Governor as Act 692. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 30, 2018: Minnesota SF 3463 vetoed by governor. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 23, 2018: Pennsylvania SB 652 passed in Senate. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 9, 2018: Minnesota HB 3693 postponed and folded into SF 3463. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 17, 2018: Iowa SB 2235 signed by governor, became law. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Mar. 27, 2018: Iowa HF 2349 withdrawn, folded into SB 2235. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 26, 2018: Louisiana HB 727 introduced. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 15, 2018: Minnesota SF 3463 introduced (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 15, 2018: Wyoming SF 74 vetoed by governor. (see Wyoming Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 12, 2018: Minnesota HB 3693 introduced. (see Minnesota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Feb. 19, 2018: Wyoming SF 74 introduced. (see Wyoming Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 16, 2018: Iowa HF 2349 introduced, replacing HSB 603 and SSB 3062. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 12, 2018: Iowa SB 2235 introduced. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Jan. 31, 2018: Iowa HSB 603 introduced. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 24, 2018: Ohio SB 250 introduced. (see Ohio Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 23, 2018: Iowa SSB 3062 introduced. (see Iowa Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 20, 2018: ALEC board approves model bill. (see American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC Model Bill: Critical Infrastructure Protection Act)

2017:

Dec. 15, 2017: Council of State Governments model bill adopted. (see Council of State Governments CSG Model Bill: Trespassing, Interference, and Destruction of Critical Infrastructure)

Dec. 7, 2017: ALEC model bill considered internally at ALEC meeting. (see American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC Model Bill: Critical Infrastructure Protection Act)

 

May 15, 2017: Oklahoma HB 2128 signed into law by governor. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 3, 2017: Oklahoma HB 1123 signed into law by governor. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Apr. 25, 2017: Pennsylvania SB 652 introduced. (see Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Apr. 12, 2017: Colorado SB 17-035 died in House committee. (see Colorado Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Mar. 28, 2017: Georgia SB1 died in committee. (see Georgia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Mar. 27, 2017: South Dakota SB 176 signed into law by governor. (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Feb. 28, 2017: Colorado SB 17-035 approved by Senate. (see Colorado Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 23, 2017: North Dakota HB 1293 signed into law by governor. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 6, 2017: Oklahoma HB 2128 introduced. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 6, 2017: Oklahoma HB 1123 introduced. (see Oklahoma Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 3, 2017: South Dakota SB 176 introduced. (see South Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Jan. 12, 2017: North Dakota HB 1293 introduced. (see North Dakota Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 11, 2017: Colorado SB 17-035 introduced. (see Colorado Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Jan. 1, 2017: Georgia SB1 introduced. (see Georgia Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2016:

Dec. 16, 2016: Washington SB 5009 pre-filed. (see Washington Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Dec. 8, 2016: Michigan HB 4643 referred to Senate, where the bill died. (see Michigan Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Dec. 7, 2016: Michigan HB 4643 approved by House. (see Michigan Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 2, 2016: Alabama HB 77 died after first reading in House Judiciary Committee (see Alabama Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2015:

August 1, 2015: Louisiana Act 366 becomes effective. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

July 1, 2015: Louisiana HB7 signed by Governor Bobby Jindal as Act 366. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

May 26, 2015: Michigan HB 4643 introduced. (see Michigan Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

Feb. 6, 2015: Louisiana HB7 prefiled. (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

2006:

Council of State Governments adpoted “Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure” model bill. (see Council of State Governments CSG Model Bill: Trespassing, Interference, and Destruction of Critical Infrastructure)

2004:

June 10, 2004: Louisiana Act 157 signed into law by Governor Kathleen Blanco (see Louisiana Oil & Gas Infrastructure anti-protest bills)

 

Media Reports & References:

2020

Alexander C. Kaufman, Mississippi Set To Become The 13th State To Criminalize Fossil Fuel Protests, HuffPost, June 16, 2020

Alleen Brown, A Powerful Petrochemical Lobbying Group Advanced Anti-Protest Legislation in the Midst of the Pandemic, The Intercept, June 7, 2020

Alexander C. Kaufman, Louisiana Bill Would Mandate 3-Year Minimum Sentence For Trespassing On Fossil Fuel Sites, HuffPost, May 29, 2020

Alexander C. Kaufman, Yet Another State Quietly Moves To Criminalize Fossil Fuel Protests Amid Coronavirus, HuffPost, May 8, 2020

Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr, Op-ed: States Are Using the Pandemic to Roll Back Americans’ Rights, The Atlantic, April 29, 2020

Emily Atkin, Better than a bailout: Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, three states have passed laws specifically aimed at preventing climate activists from protesting. Heated, March 30, 2020

Alexander C. Kaufman, States Quietly Pass Laws Criminalizing Fossil Fuel Protests Amid Coronavirus Chaos, HuffPost, March 27, 2020

Mike Lee, 9 states weigh ALEC-backed plan targeting protesters, Energywire, E&E Publishing, February 24, 2020

Jamie Corey, Bills Targeting Anti-Pipeline Activists in Seven States in 2020, so Far, Documented, February 7, 2020

2019

Sam Levin and Will Parrish, Keystone XL: police discussed stopping anti-pipeline activists 'by any means,' The Guardian, November 25, 2019

Naveena Sadasivam, This pipeline cuts across a reservation. Wisconsin might make tribal members felons for protesting it., Grist / Mother Jones, November 13, 2019

Phil McKenna, South Dakota Backs Off Harsh New Protest Law and ‘Riot-Boosting’ Penalties, InsideClimate News, October 25, 2019

Mike Lee, S.D. court settlement wipes out 'riot boosting' penalties, E&E Publishing, October 25, 2019

Vera Eidleman, South Dakota Governor Caves on Attempted Efforts to Silence Pipeline Protesters, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), October 24, 2019

Nicholas Robinson and Elly Page, Critical Infrastructure Bills:Targeting Protesters through Extreme Penalties, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), October, 2019

Jamie Corey, Fossil Fuel Industry Pushed Legislation Criminalizing Pipeline Protestors, Emails Show, Documented, August 20, 2019

Delilah Friedler, A Judge Just Blocked South Dakota’s “Riot-Boosting” Law, But Anti-Protest Measures Keep Spreading, Mother Jones, September 18, 2019

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Oil Companies Persuade States to Make Pipeline Protests a Felony, Bloomberg, August 19, 2019

Lee Fang, Oil Lobbyist Touts Success in Effort to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, Leaked Recording Shows, The Intercept, August 19, 2019

Jake Wartel, Anti-Protest Bills, from National to State Level, Gain Ground, Defending Rights & Dissent, July 12, 2019

Susie Cagle, 'Protesters as terrorists': growing number of states turn anti-pipeline activism into a crime, The Guardian, July 8, 2019

Delilah Friedler, South Dakota’s “Riot-Boosting” Law Aims to Curb the Next Standing Rock Before it Even Starts, Mother Jones, June 18, 2019

Naveena Sadasivam, Mess with a Texas pipeline now and you could end up a felon, Grist, June 17, 2019

Luke Darby, Red States Are Criminalizing Speech to Wage War on Environmental Activists, GQ, June 7, 2019

Alan Neuhauser, Pipeline Protest Laws Spark First Amendment Concerns, US News & World Report, June 6, 2019

Rebecca Stoner, Why are Unions Joining Conservative Groups to Protect Pipelines?, Pacific Standard, May 31, 2019

Alleen Brown, Pipeline Opponents Strike Back Against Anti-Protest Laws, The Intercept, May 23, 2019

New Lawsuit Challenges Anti-Protest Trespass Law, Center for Constitutional Rights, May 22, 2019

Jacob Shea, States Crack Down on Environmental Activists, Sierra Club, May 20, 2019

Naveena Sadasivam, After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines, Grist, May 14, 2019

Maggie Ellinger-Locke, ALEC Wants to Make Protest Illegal in Illinois, TruthOut / Greenpeace USA, May 10, 2019

Sue Udry, Free Speech is the Critical Infrastructure to our Democracy, Protect Rights & Dissent, May 8, 2019

Maggie Ellinger-Locke, Anti-Protest Legislation is Threatening our Climate, May 3, 2019

Mike Lee, High-profile protests spur state bids to tamp down unrest, E&E Publishing EnergyWire, April 24, 2019

Sarah Lazare and Simon Davis-Cohen, Fossil Fuel Companies Are Enlisting Police to Crack Down on Protesters, In These Times, April 16, 2019

Nicholas Kusnetz, More States Crack Down on Pipeline Protesters, Including Supporters Who Aren’t Even on the Scene, InsideClimate News, March 28, 2019

Alleen Brown, The Green Scare: How a Movement that Never Killed Anyone Became the FBI's #1 Domestic Terrorism Threat, The Intercept, March 23, 2019

Traci Yoder, The Attack on Climate Justice Movements, National Lawyers Guild, March 14, 2019

Sarah Bowman, This Indiana bill is meant to protect pipelines. Critics say it infringes on free speech., Indianapolis Star, March 10, 2019

Steve Horn, Bills Criminalizing Pipeline Protest Arise in Statehouses Nationwide, The Real News Network, February 22, 2019

Will Parrish, North Dakota Seeks to Restrict Access to Public Records After Standing Rock Reporting Exposed Law Enforcement Abuses, The Intercept, February 11, 2019

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, How Police, Private Security, and Energy Companies are Preparing for a New Pipeline Standoff, The Intercept, January 30, 2019

2018

Derek Seidman and Gin Armstrong, How to Research the Corporate Forces Behind Pipeline Protest Criminalization, LittleSis, September 27, 2018

Nicholas Robinson and Elly Page, “Guilt by Association”Critical Infrastructure Bills and the Right to Protest, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), September, 2018

Sarah Lustbader and Vaidya Gullapalli, States Use Anti-Protest Laws to Protect Oil Pipelines and Criminalize Environmental Activism, The Appeal, August 22, 2018

Nicholas Kusnetz, How Energy Companies and Allies Are Turning the Law Against Protesters, InsideClimate News / Washington Post, August 22, 2018

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, Recent Arrests Under New Anti-Protest Law Spotlight Risks that Off-Duty Cops Pose to Pipeline Opponents, The Intercept, August 22, 2018

Eliza Newlin Carney, Spate of anti-protest bills target social justice infrastructure, Sunlight Foundation, June 18, 2018

Sue Sturgis, Louisiana pipeline protection bill part of wider protest crackdown, Facing South / Institute for Southern Studies, May 11, 2018

Natasha Geiling, These states want to make planning a pipeline protest a crime, ThinkProgress, April 16, 2018

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, Louisiana and Minnesota Introduce Anti-Protest Bills Amid Fights over Bayou Bridge and Enbridge Pipelines, The Intercept, March 31, 2018

Vera Eidelman and Maggie Ellinger-Locke, The Assault on Environmental Protest, American Civil Liberties Union / Greenpeace USA, March 16, 2018

Sue Udry, Toxic Brew: State Politicians, Gas & Oil Lobbyists, and ALEC Join Forces Against Environmental Protesters, Protect Rights & Dissent, February 21, 2018

Steve Horn, Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests, DeSmog, February 21, 2018

Alexander C. Kaufman, Environmentalists Say They’re Averting Climate Disaster. Conservatives Say It’s Terrorism., HuffPost, February 20, 2018

Zoë Carpenter and Tracie Williams, PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests, The Nation, February 16, 2018

Traci Yoder, Conservative-led Anti-Protest Legislation Already Doubled Since Last Year, National Lawyers Guild, February 15, 2018

Andrew Graham, Would bill to protect energy infrastructure stifle protests?, WyoFile, February 15, 2018

Alleen Brown, Ohio and Iowa are the Latest of Eight States to Consider Anti-Protest Bills Aimed at Pipeline Opponents, The Intercept, February 2, 2018

2017

Steve Horn, As Trump Unfurls Infrastructure Plan, Iowa Bill Seeks to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, DeSmog, January 31, 2017

Steve Horn, ALEC, Corporate-Funded Bill Mill, Considers Model State Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protesters, DeSmog, December 11, 2017

Alleen Brown, Will Parrish and Alice Speri, Dakota Access-Style Policing Moves to Pennsylvannia's Mariner East 2 Pipeline, The Intercept, June 21, 2017

Sean Kitchen, ALEC Style Bills Aim to Criminalize Pipeline and Fracking Demonstrations Throughout Pennsylvania, Raging Chicken Press, May 10, 2017

Alleen Brown, Oklahoma Governor Signs Anti-Protest Law Imposing Huge Fines on "Conspirator" Organizations, The Intercept, May 6, 2017

Steve Horn, Newspaper Owned By Fracking Billionaire Leaks Memo Calling Pipeline Opponents Potential "Terrorists", DeSmog, April 23, 2017

Traci Yoder, New Anti-Protesting Legislation: A Deeper Look, National Lawyers Guild, March 2, 2017

    Contact: Connor Gibson - connor.gibson@greenpeace.org@climateconnor

    Industry: 

    Pennsylvania Pipeline Companies Spent $37.7 million Lobbying PA Government

    • Posted on: 17 October 2018
    • By: Connor Gibson

    Image via Greenpeace, 2018.

    In recent years, the government of Pennsylvania has faced enormous pressure to serve the oil and gas industry. Some legislators have been all too happy to help out, including some introducing bills that attempt to restrict peaceful protest of oil and gas pipelines. 

    The industry has a lot at stake, and has spent heavily lobbying the government of Pennsylvania. This report hones in on the lobbying expenditures, disclosed in to the PA Department of State, by the companies involved with three ongoing major pipeline projects: the Mariner East, PennEast, and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines.

    $37,710,325: GRAND TOTAL SPENT BY THE PENNSYLVANIA PIPELINE LOBBY, Q3 2012 - Q2 2018

    $37.7 million is the grand total of lobbying expenditures disclosed to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State by the companies and organizations with financial interest in the Mariner East, PennEast, and Atlantic Sunrise pipeline projects.

    This grand total includes:

    • $11,593,448 spent by companies with significant financial interest in Mariner East 1, 2, and 2X

    • $1,701,648 spent by companies with significant financial interest in Atlantic Sunrise

    • $2,605,806 spent by companies with significant financial interest in PennEast

      • -$560,824 in expenditures from Cabot Oil & Gas, which is a shipper for both Mariner East and PennEast, in order to avoid double-counting (see highlighted "NOTE" below).

    • $22,370,247 spent by trade associations representing the specific companies with significant financial interest in any of these three pipeline projects in PA.

    MARINER EAST: $11,593,448

    MARINER EAST TIMELINE:

    Mariner East I open season was announced on August 9, 2012

    Mariner East II pipeline open season announced in December, 2013. Antero Resources and Range Resources are both ME2 shippers,

    Mariner East 2X “open season” prospecting began on September 10, 2015; construction was confirmed by Sunoco in Feb, 2017.

    MARINER EAST COMPANIES:

    ME1 shippers include:

    PA LOBBYING EXPENDITURES BY MARINER EAST COMPANIES:

    $11,593,448 in PA lobbying expenses disclosed by ME's owner/operator & shippers

    ETP, Sunoco LP, Sunoco Logistics, and Sunoco Pipelines spent $1,208,329 lobbying the PA government since August, 2012, the first open season for ME1.

    • NOTE: This excludes spending from ETP in Q3, 2012, because ETP didn’t merge with Sunoco until October, 2012. References on ETP/Sunoco merger via Greenpeace and via ETP

    Range spent $5,803,739 lobbying the PA government since September, 2012, when it signed an anchor shipper agreement.

    EQT Corp spent $2,733,053 lobbying the PA government since ME1 open season was declared in August, 2012.

    Consol Energy, CNX Resources and subsidiary CNX Gas Corp* spent $967,114 lobbying the PA government since ME1 open season in August, 2012:

    *NOTE: Consol Energy was spun off as the coal subsidiary of CNX Resources in November, 2017. The above calculations include CNX Resources & CNX Gas Co expenditures before and after that time, but only includes Consol Energy expenditures before that time.

    MarkWest spent $881,213 lobbying the PA government since it signed a contract as a ME1 shipper.


    ATLANTIC SUNRISE: $1,701,648

    ATLANTIC SUNRISE TIMELINE:

    Williams declared open season on August 8, 2013 for the Atlantic Sunrise

    ATLANTIC SUNRISE COMPANIES:

    Williams Companies owns Transco, which is building the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

    Williams disclosed to FERC several companies that signed contracts to ship products through the Atlantic Sunrise:

    1. Anadarko Energy Services (owned by Anadarko Petroleum)

    2. Cabot Oil & Gas

    3. Chief Oil & Gas

    4. Inflection Energy

    5. MMGS Inc (owned by Mitsui & Co)

    6. Seneca Resources

    7. Southern Company Services (owned by Southern Company)

    8. Southwestern Energy Services

    9. WGL Midstream

    PA LOBBYING EXPENDITURES BY ATLANTIC SUNRISE COMPANIES:

    $1,701,648 in lobbying expenses disclosed by owner/operator & shippers of Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

    Along with Williams itself, three of the companies that Williams disclosed to FERC as Atlantic Sunrise shippers reported lobbying expenditures in PA:


    PENNEAST: $2,605,806

    PENNEAST TIMELINE:

    PennEast open season was announced in August, 2014.

    PENNEAST COMPANIES:

    PennEast Pipeline Company LLC was formed by 6 companies:

    1. AGL Resources

    2. NJR Pipeline Co (owned by New Jersey Resources)

    3. PSEC Power

    4. SJI Midstream (owned by South Jersey Industries, or “SJI”)

    5. Spectra Energy (owned by Enbridge)

    6. UGI Energy Services

    PennEast’s website also currently lists Southern Company Gas as a co-owner.

    The six companies that formed PennEast Pipeline Company LLC committed to half of the pipeline’s total shipping capacity, along with several other companies disclosed to FERC:

    1. New Jersey Natural Gas Company (owned by New Jersey Resources)

    2. PSEG Power

    3. Texas Eastern Transmission (owned by Enbridge via Spectra)

    4. South Jersey Gas Company (owned by SJI)

    5. ConEd of New York

    6. Elizabethtown Gas (owned by SJI)

    7. UGI Energy Services

    8. Cabot Oil & Gas

    9. Talen Energy Marketing

    10. Enerplus Resources

    11. Warren Resources

    12. NRG Rema

    PA LOBBYING EXPENDITURES BY PENNEAST COMPANIES:

    $2,605,806 in lobbying expenses disclosed by PennEast owners & shippers:

    These time frames span from when the PennEast open season took place in Q3 2014 until the most recent available disclosures, Q2 2018.

    TRADE ASSOCIATION LOBBYING: $22,370,247

    $22,370,247 is the combined total spent lobbying in PA by oil & gas industry trade groups that represent companies with significant financial stake in the Mariner East, Atlantic Sunrise or PennEast pipelines.

    These totals only include spending within the following parameters

    1. Trade association members includes at least one company involved in ME, AS, or PE

    2. Trade association spending has occurred since the announcement of the specific pipeline project that at least one of its members is involved with.

      • i.e. API doesn’t represent any ME companies, but it represents companies with stake in AS and PE, so the spending totals run from August, 2013--when AS was announced--until the present.

    Marcellus Shale Coalition: $13,936,668

    Marcellus Shale Coalition member companies include:

    1. Mariner East companies: CNX Resources, ETP, EQT Corp, MarkWest, Range, and Rex Energy.

    2. Atlantic Sunrise companies: Cabot, Chief Oil & Gas, Seneca Resources, Southwestern Energy, and Williams.

    3. PennEast companies: Cabot, and UGI Energy.

    MSC spent $13,936,668 lobbying in PA from Q3 2012 through Q2 of 2018. This time frame reflects when ME1 conversion was announced until the most recently available filing.

    American Petroleum Institute: $7,084,737

    API members include:

    1. None of the ME companies

    2. All of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline companies: Williams, Anadarko, Cabot & Southwestern

    3. Two of the PennEast shippers: Enbridge (Spectra’s parent company) and Cabot.

    API has publicly advocated for all 3 of these PA pipeline projects.

    API merged with America’s Natural Gas Alliance (below) in November, 2015. API does not include Range or Seneca among its current members.

    API spent $7,084,737 lobbying in PA from Q3 2013 through Q2 2018. This time frame reflects the announcement of the Atlantic Sunrise project up until the most recent lobbying disclosures.

    America’s Natural Gas Alliance: $261,119

    ANGA members included:

    1. Mariner East companies: Range Resources

    2. Atlantic Sunrise companies: Anadarko, Cabot, Seneca Resources, and Southwestern Energy.

    3. PennEast companies: Cabot

    ANGA spent $261,119 lobbying in PA from Q3 2012 through Q4 2015. This timeframe reflects when ME1 conversion was announced until ANGA folded in late 2015.

    ANGA merged with the American Petroleum Institute (above) in November, 2015. API does not include Range or Seneca among its current members.

    Pennsylvania Petroleum Association (PPA): $409,069

    Membership is largely undisclosed, but the owner of Mariner East has recently paid PPA:

    • Sunoco sponsored the PA Petroleum Association conferences in 2018, 2017,

    • Sunoco was listed among PPA’s sponsors in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

    • PPA is a member of the national Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA), which lists Sunoco as a PMAA sponsor.

    PPA spent $409,069 lobbying in PA from Q3 2012 through Q2 of 2018.  This time frame reflects when ME1 conversion was announced until the most recently available lobbying disclosure filings.

    Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association: $640,749

    PIOGA leadership since 2012 has included executives from:

    PIOGA spent $640,749 lobbying in PA from Q3 2012 through Q2 of 2018. This time frame reflects when ME1 conversion was announced until the most recently available filing.

    American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers: $37,905

    AFPM member companies include Mitsui & Co (formerly known as MMGS, a shipper for Atlantic Sunrise), and Ineos, the European chemical manufacturer that will be using NGL’s shipped to port by Mariner East.

    AFPM spent $37,905 lobbying in PA. This time frame only includes the year 2018, as AFPM did not file any lobbying disclosure reports in previous years.

    Industry: 

    Scott Pruitt Emails: Oil Lobbyists Drafted His Letters as Oklahoma's AG

    • Posted on: 23 February 2017
    • By: Connor Gibson

    Scott Pruitt had a bad habit as Oklahoma's attorney general: he liked to have oil lobbyists ghostwrite his official government letters calling for limits to enforcing federal pollution laws.

    A lawsuit initiated by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has forced thousands of Scott Pruitt's emails into the daylight, after Pruitt's office delayed CMD's records requests for two years. CMD says it anticipates more documents in the coming weeks, so we're in the middle of an unfolding saga. You may recall this 2014 New York Times article by Eric Lipton, which opened with this juicy hook:

    The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

    But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

    “Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

    Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.”

    Now we know this was not an isolated incident. A new article in today's New York Times notes a similar favor Pruitt conducted at the request of Devon Energy lobbyists who were concerned about U.S. Bureau of Land Management rules that could restrict oil and gas extraction on public lands:

    In a March 2013 letter to Mr. Pruitt’s office, William Whitsitt, then an executive vice president of Devon, referred to a letter his company had drafted for Mr. Pruitt to deliver, on Oklahoma state stationery, to Obama administration officials. Mr. Pruitt, meeting with White House officials, made the case that the rule, which would rein in planet-warming methane emissions, would be harmful to his state’s economy. His argument was taken directly from Mr. Whitsitt’s draft language.

    “To follow up on my conversations with Attorney General Pruitt and you, I believe that a meeting — or perhaps more efficient, a conference call — with OIRA (the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Analysis) on the BLM rule should be requested right away,” Mr. Whitsitt wrote. “The attached draft letter (or something like it that Scott is comfortable talking from and sending to the acting director to whom the letter is addressed) could be the basis for the meeting or call.”

    The letter referred to the section of the White House Office of Management and Budget that coordinates regulations throughout the government.

    Two weeks later Devon's Bill Whitsitt sent a celebratory email to Pruitt's staff, saying, "I just let General Pruitt know that BLM is going to propose a different version of its federal lands hydraulic fracturing rule thanks to input received – thanks for the help on this!" In the most striking new example, CMD revealed that Scott Pruitt's staff accepted draft letters from oil refinery lobbyists who wanted government help to attack renewable fuels and limits to smog pollution:

    The oil and gas lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) coordinated opposition in 2013 to both the Renewable Fuel Standard Program and ozone limits with Pruitt’s office. While AFPM was making its own case against the RFS with the American Petroleum Institute, it provided Pruitt with a template language for an Oklahoma petition, noting “this argument is more credible coming from a State.” Later that year, Pruitt did file opposition to both the RFS and ozone limits.

    I recommend this deep dive by DeSmog Blog if you want more specific examples of oil lobbyists running Pruitt's agenda.

    The emails are peppered with examples of Pruitt and his staff coordinating with Koch Industries and its political surrogates, including a conference call with a Koch Industries lobbyist. Pruitt frequently worked with some of the most notable Koch-funded climate denier hubs, including Americans for Prosperity, the Federalist Society, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the State Policy Network.

    Pruitt was a keynote speaker for another well-known Koch venture in May, 2013, at a reception for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC's event was held at the Oklahoma City Petroleum Club, and Pruitt was told it would be sponsored by Koch Industries, Devon Energy, TransCanada, Continental Resources, and Phillips66. ALEC is the dating service for state legislators and corporate lobbyists, where Scott Pruitt has been a celebrity in recent years for leading other state attorneys general into attacks on the EPA.

    The appointment to lead the EPA is a reward for Pruitt, who dutifully acted on behalf of fossil fuel companies as Oklahoma attorney general, and a consequence of the Republican administrations close ties to the oil and coal industries.

    At Greenpeace, we invite our supporters to join us and resist this administration's handover of federal agencies to the industries who are supposed to be monitored by them. Scientific fact can't be yelled into submission. We'd rather not have the President learn that lesson by failing to protect Americans from the damage done by an unstable climate.

    Just as Scott Pruitt's denial of fracking-related Oklahoma earthquakes did nothing to stop a surge in real earthquakes, putting a climate denier in charge of the EPA is not going to undo the global rise in average surface temperatures that lead to intense drought, flooding, storms, and sea level rise.

    Industry: 

    Pages