A shell corporation with ties to a Russian state oil interest “donated” $23 million to an environmental bundler which passed the funds to The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the League of Conservation Voters according to a new report by the Environmental Policy Alliance.
The NRDC, The Sierra Club, and the League of Conversation Voters accepted donations of $13.5, $15, and $18.1 million from the Sea Change Foundation. The Sea Change Foundation got $23 million from the shell corporation Klein Ltd, which “only exists on paper.” Klein Ltd has deep ties to Russian energy investment groups like Firebird New Russia Fund and Vimpelcom Ltd. Klein Ltd is incorporated in the Bahamas and thus doesn’t have to disclose its donors.
The report shows that high-level Russian oil and political interests fund and support American environmental groups which then launch attacks on the U.S. natural gas and oil industry. These attacks lead to new regulations and restrictions on American oil, which reduces the amount of international competition for Russian produces.
Much of the money is spent lobbying against the development of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas and oil in the United States. Fracking allowed the U.S. to pass Russia and become the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015 which lowered the global price of oil. Low oil prices have greatly harming Russia’s economy and hurt the Russian government.
The Environmental Policy Alliance created a YouTube video entitled “From Russia With Love” shown below to articulate their case.
The two founders of the shell corporation both held directorship positions in a group owned by Leonid Reiman, the Russian minister of telecommunications and longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The shell corporation has other ties to the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.
The report is a follow up to a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works report released in 2014. The Senate report also identifies foreign billionaires who secretly donate large sums of money to environmental groups.
The Senate report concludes that the Sea Change Foundation relies on funding from undisclosed donors and has funneled tens of millions of dollars to prominent environmental groups which controlled strive to control both policy and politics.
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