Hydraulic fracturing is how oppressed regions will be able to free themselves from the tyranny of the world’s energy cartels, says Ezra Levant, a Canadian journalist and author of the new book “Groundswell.”
Right now, Europe is dependent on Russian oligarchs for one-third of their natural gas supply. This allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to treat Eastern Europe as his own playground without any threat of retaliation from major European power, like Germany or France.
Many European countries sit atop vast oil and natural gas reserves that would be attainable through fracking — which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into deep-underground shale formations to unlock huge energy reserves.
What’s stopping them? An environmental movement that conspires to keep oil and gas underground, despite Russian and OPEC energy oppression. But Levant thinks these activists are misleading the public and may even be funded by Russia and OPEC.
Levant sat down with The Daily Caller News Foundation to discuss his new book and why he believes fracking is the answer to the world’s most oppressive energy cartels.
DCNF: It’s called “Groundswell” and it’s the case for fracking. Is this the case for fracking around the world?
Ezra: Yeah. I’m from Canada, and we frack a lot in western Canada. There’s a debate in some parts of eastern Canada: should they frack or not? But fracking, of course, was invented in the United States in 1947. It’s been done more than a million times in the United States, in large parts of the United States.
It’s obviously an American story, but I think the most urgent call for fracking these days is in Eastern Europe. As we’ve seen, Vladimir Putin uses natural gas as a weapon — he just last week cut off all natural gas supplies to Ukraine, which is almost completely dependent on Russia.
Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Scandinavian countries — some of those places, literally 100 percent of their energy comes from Gazprom, which is 51 percent owned by the Kremlin. Even Germany, the industrial heartland of Europe — a third of its energy comes from Russia.
So, not only would fracking of shale, oil and gas in Europe be an economic boom… Not only would it reduce the cost of energy, not only would it give them a lot of jobs, but as Ukraine shows, it would give them political independence.
DCNF: What you talk about in your book is the foreign influence on the environmental movement in the United States, Canada, all over the world. What are you talking about here?
I mean, Gazprom does not hide its contempt for fracking, even though they have signed large fracking contracts in Siberia. They’re obviously fine to frack their own country, but they do not want competitors to frack. They denounce fracking in America, and in Europe.
We saw … Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general of NATO, say that Gazprom has co-opted western environmentalist groups. That’s no surprise, because we know that, for example, Gasland by Josh Fox was produced in cooperation with a former employee of the Venezuelan state film agency. We know that Matt Damon’s movie “Promised Land” was made with financing from the OPEC country of United Arab Emirates.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that OPEC is trying to undermine their competitors. Remember, Vladimir Putin is a former KGB agent — this is what he did during the Cold War. They undermined the West from the West. They financed peace and disarmament groups. They even helped finance the British coal miners’ union to strike against the U.K.
If you are a KGB agent, the best million dollars you’ll ever spend is getting a coal strike in the U.K.
You could spend 10 million bucks on a “buy Gazprom” PR campaign, or you could buy the former chancellor of Germany. Gerhard Schroeder now sits on a Gazprom board. So he is undermining any politics in Germany to be energy independent.
He is keeping Germany dependent on Russia, and it’s fair to ask, given Vladimir Putin’s history as a KGB agent, did Gazprom in fact have some contact with Schroeder when he was the chancellor? Did they communicate to him, “You do us a favor now, and we’ll reward you later?”
You’d have to be naïve to think that Gazprom hasn’t been doing this.
If you care about other places, if you care about Ukraine that’s been invaded in slow motion by Putin, if you care about Poland and the Baltic countries and Scandinavia, you should love fracking even more because it is what will liberate those countries from Vladimir Putin. Not just financially, it will liberate them from his energy weapon — and from Iran and Qatar and the other thugs in the world.
I don’t know what God was thinking about when he was handing out hydrocarbon, but he gave it to all the world’s bastards. But fracking — it has an ugly name but is a beautiful technology — that turns otherwise worthless shale into extremely valuable oil and gas. If you don’t want it for your own state, fine, but for God’s sakes, let the Poles and the Ukrainians and the Bulgarians frack just to be free of Russia. That’s my case. That’s the case for fracking.
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