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Russia & fracking: Environmental disinformation?

| Friday, July 14, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
House Science Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas speaks on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Alleged Russian collusion in matters domestic extends beyond the 2016 presidential election. Two Texas congressmen say Russian officials engaged in “a covert anti-fracking campaign,” aiding U.S. environmental groups in the distribution of “disinformation” and “propaganda.”

The Russians' objective isn't to keep America green, according to the congressmen. It's to keep the green flowing to Gazprom, Russia's massive gas company, by hobbling domestic energy growth.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Republican Reps. Lamar Smith and Randy Weber say Russians apparently funneled money to U.S. environmental organizations to spread an anti-fracking message. They quote a former secretary-general of NATO, who said Russia “engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.”

Not that any of this is new. In a 2014 private speech, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referenced “phony environmental groups … funded by Russians” to denounce fracking, according to The Washington Times.

Rightfully so, Messrs. Smith and Weber have called on Mr. Mnuchin to investigate any Russian disinformation on fracking. Over the years, and with attention to environmental considerations, fracking has dramatically benefited America's energy needs.

If, indeed, Russian propaganda is what passes for environmental insight on shale oil and fracking, Americans need to know about it.

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