Recent intelligence reports show Russia is interested in influencing more than just America’s elections: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies have taken aim at undermining the U.S. energy industry.
Buried within the U.S. intelligence community’s report on Russian activities in the presidential election is evidence the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States. By targeting fracking, Putin hopes to increase oil and gas prices, destabilize the U.S. economy and threaten America’s energy independence.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a drilling technique in which water and sand are pumped through rock at high pressure to release deposits of oil and natural gas.
Thanks to new technologies which make the process more efficient and environmentally friendly, fracking supports 4.3 million jobs and generates half a trillion dollars in economic benefit to the United States annually. Natural gas prices have dropped in half, saving American families $200 a year on average.
Fracking is the major reason why the country is on pace to become completely energy independent by 2020. America relies on fracking to produce more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil yearly — over half of total U.S. oil output.
Russia sees all this as a threat.
The Russian government, relying heavily on energy exports for revenues, is concerned “about the impact of fracking and U.S. gas production on the global energy market.” Increased U.S. gas exports create “potential challenges” for the profitability of Russia’s state-owned oil and gas monopoly.
In response to America’s growing fracking industry, RT, Russia’s government-funded international media outlet, aired a slew of dubious attacks against fracking — ramming 62 anti-fracking television stories down viewers’ throats in seven months.
This isn’t the first time Russia has been accused of anti-fracking activism.
In 2014, intelligence information led then-NATO secretary general to conclude Moscow conspired with environmental groups to block fracking activities in Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria.
A U.S. Senate report found the Sea Change Foundation funneled over $43 million to environmental causes, financing anti-fracking organizations like the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club. The foundation is heavily funded by a Bermuda-based shell corporation with direct ties to Putin and Russian oil interests.
Russia’s propaganda and money funneled to America’s most extreme environmental outfits explains why anti-fracking attacks continue even though science confirmed fracking poses no public health threat.
The EPA could “not find evidence that [fracking] led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.”
The U.S. Geological Survey and the Groundwater Protection Council found fracking caused no groundwater contamination. A three-year study at the University of Cincinnati found fracking had no impact on local water supplies.
Fracking created millions of jobs, spurred the economy and created a path to energy independence — without posing a risk to people or the environment.
It seems the only folks left attacking fracking are puppets of the anti-science, anti-American Russian propaganda machine. They hope lies about fracking can weaken the United States, dry up the supply of oil and gas, drive up energy costs and force European countries to pour money into Putin’s coffers.
As the U.S. intelligence report proves, Russia is willing to go to great lengths to destroy America’s fracking industry. But the United States should stand firm against this threat. The battle over fracking is one fight America can’t afford to lose.
Drew Johnson is a senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to a smaller, more responsible government.