By Rick Manning — One staff person at Current TV expressed disdain for former Vice President Al Gore, Jr.’s decision to sell the television property to Al Jazeera saying, “Al was always lecturing us about green. He kept his word about green all right — as in cold, hard cash!”
Another Current staffer is reported to have remarked, “He [Al Gore, Jr.] has no credibility. He’s supposed to be the face of clean energy and just sold [the channel] to very big oil, the emir of Qatar! Current never even took big oil advertising — and Al Gore sells to the emir?”
While Al Gore’s enviro credibility may have just been sold for the $100 million he reportedly netted from the deal, only the most naïve environmentalist should have been shocked.
The latest Matt Damon movie, Promised Land, which demonizes a fifty year technology for extracting oil and natural gas called, hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short, was funded by the United Arab Emirites, a major OPEC member.
Why would UAE care about fracking in the United States?
Perhaps, the dramatic expansion in natural gas and oil development on private land in the U.S. might provide a clue. Developments in drilling technology over the past decade have changed the world’s energy landscape, and have made North Dakota the third largest oil producing state in the nation. Now, rather than importing natural gas for the foreseeable future, even President Obama is referring to America as the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.
And in case studious environmentalists missed the obvious agenda behind the funding of Promised Land, it was almost impossible not to notice the scandal when it was revealed that the Sierra Club had taken $23 million from Chesapeake Energy (a natural gas producer) to attack the coal industry and push for regulations to force the conversion of coal-fired electricity power plants to burning natural gas.
Not surprisingly, when the money ran out, and revelations about the funding emerged, Sierra Club executives jumped on the fracking scare band wagon.
Corporate representatives are always treated by the media as having the stain of conflict of interest because they are assumed to be giving the public an argument that reflects their company’s financial interest.
Perhaps it is time for environmental groups to withstand the same skepticism. Whether it is the war on coal, the burgeoning fracking fight, or even purchasing a television outlet geared to environmental activist viewers, it is clear that there are foreign interests who are willing to pony up big bucks to keep America at their energy mercy.
It is also clear that the environmental movement leadership is extremely entrepreneurial in accepting funding for projects.
Knowing this, a wise news consumer should ask themselves, who is really paying the freight for the environmentalist movement and their continual argument for higher energy costs.
Who benefits when government decisions are made against extracting or using our nation’s abundant coal, oil and natural gas supplies?
In the cases of Al Gore, the Sierra Club and Hollywood, you really only have to follow the money.
Rick Manning is the vice president for public policy and communications at Americans for Limited Government.