Energy

Top Eco-Activist Bashes Dems For Supporting Natural Gas — Except He Did It Once Too

(REUTERS/Mal Langsdon)

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben excoriated President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and environmentalists Wednesday for having supported natural gas production.

The problem? McKibben was at one time one of those environmentalists championing natural gas.

“So lots of people thought it was great news when natural-gas wildcatters began rapidly expanding fracking in the last decade,” McKibben wrote in his Monday editorial for The Nation before naming names.

McKibben began his missive pointing at Obama, blaming the president for using natural gas production as a tool to give the economy a B12 shot in the arm.

“In his 2012 State of the Union address,” McKibben wrote, “Obama declared that new natural-gas supplies would not only last the nation a century, but would create 600,000 new jobs by decade’s end.”

And Obama was not one to shy away from taking credit for the shale boom, McKibben lamented.

Obama got help selling natural gas, McKibben noted, from environmentalists such as Robert Kennedy Jr., who wrote in 2009 that natural gas could help “eliminate most of our dependence on deadly, destructive coal practically overnight.”

The founder of anti-fossil fuel group 350.org also tossed side-eye at the former director of Sierra Club, Carl Pope, for allegedly cavorting with then-fracking giant Chesapeake Energy for the expressed purposes of championing liquefied natural gas production.

Pope received $25 million from now-deceased former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon to fund his environmental causes.

The final blow may be McKibben’s decision to give credit to Josh Fox — the film director who produced the 2010 anti-fracking film “Gasland” — for helping to kick-start the anti-fracking movement.

McKibben was singing a different tune in 2009 when he felt so strongly about power plants switching to natural gas, he was willing to do a stint in the hoosegow in support of the cause.

He was one of several celebrities who protested on the front steps of the Capitol Power Plant in Washington, D.C.

“There are moments in a nation’s—and a planet’s—history when it may be necessary for some to break the law … We will cross the legal boundary of the power plant, and we expect to be arrested,” McKibben told reporters prior to the protest.

McKibben added: “[I]t would be easy enough to fix. In fact, the facility can already burn some natural gas instead, and a modest retrofit would let it convert away from coal entirely. … It would even stimulate the local economy.”

And in 2010, McKibben wrote a book called “Eaarth,” pledging his support to natural gas, claiming then that it was an excellent bridge between coal and other forms of renewable energy.

“Sometimes the news is a little better,” McKibben wrote in his book. “The last year has seen new discoveries of natural gas that could help wean us off dirtier coal.”

“We’ve found some good natural gas supplies” in the U.S., he continued, adding further that natural gas is a “good ‘bridge fuel’ between dirty coal and clean sun.”

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