(THE DAILY SIGNAL) — Forget about allegations of Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections for a moment, or even “collusion” between Russian officials and Trump campaign operatives.
The real action is in the European and U.S. energy markets, according to a letter from two Texas congressmen to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that details what they call “a covert anti-fracking campaign” with “little or no paper trail.”
The Daily Signal obtained a copy of the June 29 letter to Mnuchin from Reps. Lamar Smith and Randy Weber, both Republicans who chair energy-related House panels.
Smith and Weber quote sources saying the Russian government has been colluding with environmental groups to circulate “disinformation” and “propaganda” aimed at undermining hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called fracking, the process makes it possible to access natural gas deposits.
The sources include a former secretary-general of NATO, who is quoted by the GOP congressmen as saying:
Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.
This anti-fracking campaign seizes upon environmental issues and health concerns that could be used to constrain U.S. drilling and fracking exercises, the letter explains.
Gazprom, a large Russian oil company, stands to benefit if Russian-funded environmental activism results in reduced levels of fracking and natural gas production in the United States, Smith and Weber tell Mnuchin. They write:
It is easy to see the benefit to Russia and Gazprom that would result from a reduction in the U.S. level of drilling and fracking—a position advocated for by numerous environmental groups in the U.S.
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