By Thomas Lifson, from American Thinker
[update, I scheduled this the previous night, and was unaware that Dave Middleton would publish the same story a few hours earlier….C’est la vie ~ctm]
Charges of “Russian collusion” may have opened Pandora’s Box for the environmentalist wing of the Democratic Party and the American left. Republican congressman Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and energy subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Weber have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, calling:
… on the Trump administration to investigate whether Russia is trying to undermine the U.S. energy industry by funding environmental activism as part of a “propaganda war against fossil fuels.”
They lay out the logic of the case:
according to a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith and energy subcommittee chairman Randy Weber.
“If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking,” said Mr. Smith, Texas Republican, in a Friday statement.
“They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda,” he said. “This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market. The American people deserve to know the truth and I am confident Secretary Mnuchin will investigate the allegations.”
The Republicans said the panel is already conducting oversight into “what appears to be a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various non-profit entities to influence the U.S. energy market.”
Certainly Russia has a motive. The widespread adoption of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has fueled an energy boom in the United States that threatens Russian exports of oil and natural gas, which accounted for 68 percent of the country’s export revenue in 2013.
The letter pointed to reports that Russian entities may have funneled millions through a Bermuda shell company, Klein Ltd., to the Sea Change Foundation in San Francisco, which has in turn provided grants on anti-fracking groups like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.
Proving such a link is another matter. The letter acknowledged that the “Russian government and complicit parties have executed a political agenda with little or no paper trail.”