The Russian Collusion You Haven’t Heard About

On March 1st, the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology posted the following Press Release:

SST Committee Staff Report Reveals Russia’s Social Media Meddling in U.S. Energy Markets

Mar 1, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released a staff report uncovering Russia’s extensive efforts to influence U.S. energy markets through divisive and inflammatory posts on social media platforms. The report details Russia’s motives in interfering with U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy and its manipulation of Americans via social media propaganda. The report includes examples of Russian-propagated social media posts.

Chairman Smith: “This report reveals that Russian agents created and spread propaganda on U.S. social media platforms in an obvious attempt to influence the U.S. energy market. Russia benefits from stirring up controversy about U.S. energy production. U.S. energy exports to European countries are increasing, which means they will have less reason to rely upon Russia for their energy needs. This, in turn, will reduce Russia’s influence on Europe to Russia’s detriment and Europe’s benefit. That’s why Russian agents attempted to manipulate Americans’ opinions about pipelines, fossil fuels, fracking and climate change. The American people deserve to know if what they see on social media is the creation of a foreign power seeking to undermine our domestic energy policy.”

The report’s key findings:

  • Between 2015 and 2017, there were an estimated 9,097 Russian posts or tweets regarding U.S. energy policy or a current energy event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Between 2015 and 2017, there were an estimated 4,334 IRA accounts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • According to information provided by Twitter, more than four percent of all IRA tweets were related to energy or environmental issues, a significant portion of content when compared to the eight percent of IRA tweets that were related to the election in the U.S.
  • Russia exploited American social media as part of its concerted effort to disrupt U.S. energy markets and influence domestic energy policy.
  • The IRA targeted pipelines, fossil fuels, climate change and other divisive issues to influence public policy in the U.S.

The report can be found here.

Background

On October 31, 2017, Chairman Smith sent letters to Twitter and Facebook to continue its probe into Russian attempts to influence U.S. energy markets via social media platforms. The letters cited additional evidence that Russian agents engaged in anti-U.S. energy activities on the platforms, including Facebook-owned Instagram, and reiterated Chairman Smith’s September request for information from the companies.

On September 26, 2017, Chairman Smith requested documents and information from Twitter and Facebook related to Russian entities purchasing anti-U.S. energy advertisements on social media platforms operated by the companies, including Facebook-owned Instagram.

On July 7, 2017, Chairman Smith and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting that the Treasury Department investigate allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. energy market through covertly funding radical environmental groups opposed to fossil fuels.

115th Congress
This is much more important than the current expensive, political, and endless investigation being carried out by Robert Mueller, yet somehow the press has not paid very much attention to it. It is time that we take a look at some of the funding of some of the radical environmental groups. For those of you old enough to remember, when the Soviet Union fell and America had access to some of their historic documents, we learned that many of the anti-war organizations of the 1960’s and 1970’s were Soviet funded. Most Americans had no idea that was happening. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Making America Energy Independent

There are a lot of entities that have a vested interest in preventing America from becoming energy independent. The obvious ones are OPEC and the Soviet Union. When you look at the money behind the anti-pipeline and anti-fracking movements, you will see a lot of Saudi Arabian money and a lot of Russian money. Why? Some scientists believe that the oil and natural gas resources in America reachable by fracking are larger than the oil resources in the Middle East. Fracking will quickly end OPEC’s monopoly on the world’s oil supply. It will also prevent the possibility of Iran at some point blocking the Strait of Hormuz. Thirty percent of the world’s oil travels through the Strait of Hormuz. Imagine the disruption of the world’s oil supply if that Strait was blocked. Right now, Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. The pipelines run from Russia to Europe. Russia has been known to threaten Europe with shutting down the pipeline if Europe does not comply with Russia’s wishes. American oil and natural gas would also alleviate that threat. The environmentalists who are blocking the development of America’s fossil fuel reserves are serving as useful idiots for OPEC and the Russians. The elevated status these objectors were given during the Obama Administration is about to end.

The Daily Caller is reporting today that the Trump Administration is getting ready to open up new areas to offshore oil and gas drilling.

The article reports:

Industry sources familiar with the matter told Platts an executive order is in the works to rewind Obama’s decision to make large swaths of the Arctic and Atlantic off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told industry representatives the new drilling plan would be signed soon, according to Bloomberg. However, he gave few details on what the order could include.

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) new five-year offshore drilling plan could take years to develop and would replace the Obama administration’s five-year plan finalized in November.

Like it or not, fossil fuel fuels the world’s economy. Until the free market is allowed to work to develop a reliable source of green energy, fossil fuel will continue in that role. The good news is that natural gas is an extremely clean-burning fossil fuel, and America has plenty of that.

The article concludes:

Trump is expected to sign the order by the end of April, and it’s sure to draw legal challenges from environmentalists who’ve argued Obama’s indefinite ban on Arctic and Atlantic drilling can’t be overturned.

Obama used Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, a 1953 law governing offshore drilling, in an unprecedented way, blocking leases in the Atlantic Ocean and the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Obama’s order took 125 million acres in Arctic seas and four million acres in the Atlantic Ocean out of future lease sales indefinitely. Supporters said the former president’s actions “permanently” banned drilling in those regions.

But the drilling ban is only permanent if Congress doesn’t change the law or Trump doesn’t move to test it in court. Past presidents have reduced the size of Section 12(a) designations but never fully repealed them.

The U.S.-held portion of the Arctic Ocean is estimated to hold 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The oil and gas industry has struggled to access these vast energy reserves but new discoveries in northern Alaska have reinvigorated some interest in the region.

Energy independence is both a matter of national security and economic success. Cheap fuel prices will bring industry back to America. American labor costs may be higher than the almost-slave labor that exists in some countries, but American quality control standards are also high. Lowering energy costs (and lowering corporate tax rates) will be a positive step toward reviving an American economy that has not been doing well in recent years.

Roadblocks On The Way To Energy Independence

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that 70 House democrats voted for the Keystone Pipeline yesterday. The Keystone Pipeline was included in the Transportation Bill that passed the House yesterday by a vote of 293-127.

The Hill reported yesterday:

The bill creates another clash with the White House over the Keystone pipeline — a project at the heart of the Republicans’ energy agenda and their election-year attacks against the president.

Obama, facing divisions in his political base, has delayed a permitting decision on the project until after the election and threatened to veto the House bill over the pipeline language.

The House vote continues what has been a difficult path forward for transportation program funding, which often has bipartisan support.

Congress last month enacted a 90-day extension of highway programs before it left for a two-week recess, and the Speaker had hoped to use the break as one more chance to win support for the five-year transportation bill he has been pushing for months over objections from his conference.

Unless it is approved, the Keystone Pipeline will be a campaign issue this November. The majority of Americans are in favor of building it. Its construction will create jobs and lower gas prices at the pump (although I am not sure how quickly gas prices will go down). It will be interesting to see how the President and the Senate handle this.

 

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Solar Energy In Germany

As Americans learn about the amount of money the Obama Administration is spending to subsidize solar energy, there is an interesting report posted at The Association of Mature American Citizens website

The article reports:

Germany invested  gargantuan amounts of money in green energy, doling out more than 130 billion in  subsidies to install solar systems and spends an additional 10 billion per year  subsidizing existing solar installations.

Yet after all of this capital  expenditure, Germany has little to show in terms of reducing green house gasses  and helping the country’s power needs. Despite massive investment, solar power  accounts for approximately three percent of Germany’s total energy… when the  sun shines!  To add insult to injury, Germans also pay the second highest  price for electricity in the developed world, due mainly to the fact that they  are heavily subsidizing green energy by adding the cost to everyone’s utility  bills.

The article explains that Germany will be phasing out subsidies for solar energy over the next five years.

The article further reports:

According to Der Spiegel, members of Chancellor Merkel’s staff are  describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp Rösler, Germany’s minister  of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a “threat  to the economy.”

We need to learn from Germany’s experience.

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