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Useful Idiots for Putin?

State Senator and Gubernatorial candidate Rich Madaleno was among the dozens of protesters who attended an anti-fracking rally last week at the State House:

Ahead of a protest Thursday, opponents of a proposed natural-gas pipeline criticized the Hogan administration Tuesday.

“There are significant hazards” to the pipeline plan, Brent Walls, an upper Potomac riverkeeper with a river protection group, said during a telephone news conference. He said the Maryland Department of the Environment “has done a deplorable job in reviewing and assessing” the pipeline application….

…..Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, part of TransCanada, plans to extend an 8-inch-diameter pipe from a facility in Pennsylvania through Maryland and under the Potomac River, just west of Hancock, to link with a new Mountaineer Gas Co. line. Mountaineer’s pipeline would run about 23 miles from Morgan County into Berkeley County.

Supporters said the pipeline is needed to spur continued economic development. Opponents said it threatens the environment and drinking-water supplies.

In Maryland, opponents are asking Gov. Larry Hogan to use the state’s authority under the federal Clean Water Act to “thoroughly review the impacts of the pipeline.”

Walls was joined Tuesday by state Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery, who is running for governor; Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s; and Brooke Harper and Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

There’s an awkward reality about the anti-fracking movement here in this country, which certainly Madaleno, Pinsky, and others in the General Assembly are likely rather ignorant of. The anti-fracking movement is associated with one Vladimir Putin.

Think that’s far-fetched. Well, as Salon reports, Hillary Clinton didn’t think it was:

One person who appears to believe that the Russians are interested in stopping oil and gas extraction via fracking, in fact, is Hillary Clinton herself. In a private, paid speech delivered in Canada on June 18, 2014, the former secretary of state denounced “phony environmental groups” she claimed had been created by Russia to oppose fracking.

“We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia,” Clinton said, according to an excerpt from the speech created by her presidential campaign staffers.

Read the whole thing.

Newsweek also covered this in-depth:

Recent intelligence reports show that Russia is interested in influencing more than just America’s elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies have taken aim at undermining the U.S. energy industry, as well.

Buried within the U.S. intelligence community’s report on Russian activities in the presidential election is clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States. By targeting fracking, Putin hopes to increase oil and gas prices, destabilize the U.S. economy and threaten America’s energy independence.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a decades-old drilling technique in which water and sand is pumped through rock at a high pressure to release previously unreachable deposits of oil and natural gas….

….The Russian government, which relies heavily on energy exports for revenues, is concerned “about the impact of fracking and U.S. natural gas production on the global energy market,” according to the intelligence report. Increased U.S. gas exports, the report continues, creates “potential challenges” for the profitability of Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned oil and gas monopoly.

In response to America’s growing fracking industry, RT, Russia’s government-funded international media outlet, aired air a slew of dubious attacks against fracking.

Over just seven months in 2015, RT managed to ram 62 different anti-fracking television stories and news reports down viewers’ throats. That doesn’t even include an hour-long, largely discredited anti-fracking documentary that airs regularly on RT in America and around the world.

It’s little wonder why the intelligence report called RT “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.”

It’s interesting that at a time that Democrats like these are raising a stink about Russian influence in our election, they seem to be silent about Russia’s influence on our domestic policy. Nobody can doubt that it is in the interest of the Russian government to oppose the U.S. finding additional potential sources of oil that could be used for domestic consumption or for export. Russia wants to maximize the amount of money they can get from their oil exports and want to make sure that they control oil and gas prices as best as they can to continue to squeeze those nations which are in their orbit.

Anti-fracking groups share a common interest with the Russian government. It’s unfortunate that suckers like Rich Madaleno are being useful idiots in doing their bidding.

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