“If you don’t call it something, you can’t connect the dots,” said Rudy Giuliani talking about ISIS. “If you can’t connect the dots, you can’t really combat it … you can’t have the battle of ideas…. If you are going to debate it, you have to call it what it is.”
The same can be said about the organized attack on fossil fuel development and use in America. If you don’t acknowledge that a battle of ideas exists, you can’t connect the dots, and you can’t really combat it.
It has recently been revealed that Russia is laundering tens of millions of dollars through Bermuda, which the California-based Sea Change Foundation doles out to some of the most prominent and politically active anti-fossil fuel groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council. Reports indicate that OPEC countries funded the anti-fracking movies Gasland and Promise Land. Of course, we know that billionaire activist Tom Steyer announced $100 million in the 2014 election cycle for candidates who opposed the Keystone pipeline.
Not only does the anti-fossil movement exist, it is organized and well-funded. It can also resort to extreme tactics—even violent ones known as “civil disobedience.” According to the Huffington Post (HP), the FBI has been looking into activists’ involvement in highway blockades that delayed northbound shipments of equipment to Canada’s oilsands. The report claims that, for example, an FBI agent and a local detective called on Herb Goodwin in Bellingham, Washington, telling him: “We’re here to ask whether you’ll answer some questions for us about Deep Green Resistance”—a radical environmental movement that believes the biggest problem with the planet is human civilization itself and calls for “decisive ecological warfare” and “direct attacks against infrastructure.”
A week after the HP story was published; Canada’s February 17 Globe and Mail featured this headline: “‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say.” The article references a January 2014 leaked report put together to support Canada’s “strategy to ensure critical infrastructure (CI)” and to “be used to assist in the protection of Canada’s CI.” Amongst the report’s “key findings” are these points:
• A growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels;
• The anti-petroleum movement focuses on challenging the energy and environmental policies that promote the development of Canada’s vast petroleum resources;
• Violent anti-petroleum extremists will continue to engage in criminal activity to promote their anti-petroleum ideology; and
• These extremists pose a realistic criminal threat to Canada’s petroleum industry, its workers and assets, and to first responders.
While the above was written about Canada, the same could be said about the anti-petroleum movement in AMERICA—but we’ll never see a similar report. As Desmog Canada posted in response to the RCMP document: “The striking thing is that the U.S. has identified climate change as one of the greatest threats to national security, yet here in Stephen Harper’s Canada it is the people trying to stop climate change that are identified as the threat.”
Perhaps ISIS learned from the anti-petroleum movement. The report highlights the “use of social media, including the use of live-streaming, provides the anti-petroleum movement the ability to bypass the traditional news media, to control and craft its message, and to promote a one-sided version of the actual events, leading to broadly based anti-petroleum opposition.” Sound familiar?
With Russia and the OPEC countries—which appear to be funding much of the activity—the answer is easy. They want to protect their turf, their market share. The new American energy abundance threatens their dominance—especially as we begin to repeal the crude-oil export ban, which will give our allies a friendly alternative for fuel.
We see this fight playing out in the manmade climate-change debate, the anti-coal protests, the efforts to ban fracking, and the Keystone pipeline controversy.
Addressing the Keystone pipeline, Dave Barnett, special representative for the Pipeline and Gas Distribution Department of the United Association, told me that he has sat at the negotiating table across from representatives from the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council—just to name two. He was told: “We know that your Members at the United Association have the proper training to build safe pipelines and it’s not the safety of the pipelines we are really concerned about. It’s building an infrastructure project that will tie us to oil usage for the next 50 years that we oppose.” Then they went on to say: “It never was about the pipeline, it’s about the use of fossil fuels. Stopping the pipeline was just a way to stop the flow of oil.”
Due to the well-funded and organized anti-petroleum movement, aided by the media, the entire “green” narrative has become so embedded into the collective psyche, it may seem like America as we know it, is on the way to being brought down.
But it is not as dire as it may seem.
First, while vocal, the anti-petroleum movement represents a small percentage of the general population that self-identifies as “strongly liberal.”
Second, they are not as successful as they appear. While they have gotten some fracking/drilling bans passed, for example, state supreme courts continue to overturn those bans. We’ve seen this happen last year in Colorado, last month in New Mexico, and last week in Ohio. We will likely see the same results in Texas, regarding the local ban in Denton.
Undaunted, those opposed to petroleum will now try to get their way by use of ballot measures. The automatic votes will come from the “strongly liberal.” Readers of this column also represent a small percentage of the general population: those who care enough about what happens in America to educate themselves and be engaged in the issues. Most people sit in the middle—unaware and unengaged. But many of them will vote. The messaging they hear will influence who they vote for and how they vote.
Will voters hear the messages of the “strongly liberal” anti-fossil fuel movement—or, that of their educated and engaged friends who think more like they do? We fight in a battle of ideas that we can win.
But first we have to name the enemy. Then, in this battle of ideas, we must commit to reaching out to family members, neighbors, and friends to educate and engage them. In this debate, let’s call it what it is.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.