Politics

Environmentally-Friendly Democratic Senate Candidate Gary Peters Invests In Fracking And Coal

Patrick Howley Political Reporter

Democratic Michigan Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters invests in companies that profit from fracking and burning coal, according to financial disclosures reviewed by The Daily Caller.

Peters has fashioned himself as an environmentalist in his 2014 Senate campaign against Republican Terri Lynn Land. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund endorsed Peters, calling him “a true leader fighting for a more sustainable future for Michigan and our nation by advocating for common sense solutions to help reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and promote clean energy jobs.”

Peters has recently come under fire for owning $19,000 in stock in the French company Total S.A., which produces the petcoke substance that contaminates the area around the Detroit River with a major buildup. Peters refused to sell his stock in the company, saying, “It has nothing to do with the Detroit situation.”

But Peters’ investments in the fossil fuel industry are deeper than previously thought, according to his 2013 financial disclosure, which listed dividends he owns through the Gary C. Peters Trust.

Peters listed between $1,001 and $15,000 in dividends from NiSource, which makes money from fracking.

A NiSource investment group recently pledged $1.75 billion to enable its pipelines to carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from Ohio and West Virginia shale. The company is building a new 160-mile pipeline called the Leach XPress pipeline. The environmentalist group Stop Fracking Ohio has highlighted NiSource’s efforts on social media.

Peters also listed between $1,001 and $15,000 in dividends from the fossil fuel company CMS Energy.

CMS’ “principal business” Consumers Energy has only 8 percent of its energy output in renewable energy, according to its 2014 Accountability Report. The company owns America’s oldest coal fleet and operates five coal-fired energy facilities that burned an estimated 9.7 million tons of coal in 2011. CMS also has to spend about $1.5 billion through 2015 to meet environmental regulations.

CMS does not have So2 scrubbers, which cleans sulfur dioxide emissions, on any of its coal plants, though two of its plants reportedly await So2 scrubber installations.

Peters listed between $1,001 and $15,000 in dividends from the Washington-based energy company Pepco Holdings, which relies heavily on burning coal.

Pepco was the subject of an anti-coal environmentalist protest in Washington, D.C. in 2009. Only 5.1 percent of Pepco’s energy output comes from renewable forms of energy.

“Pepco’s real crime is this: Nearly half its electricity comes from the combustion of coal, the largest trigger for global warming on the planet,” wrote the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s Mike Tidwell in an op-ed for a Maryland newspaper.

The Peters campaign did not return a request for comment. Peters leads Land by two points, 43 to 41 percent, in a Mitchell poll released Monday.

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