When It Comes To Environmental Extremism, Anything Goes

(Steve Birr/TheDCNF)

David Schnare General Counsel, Energy and Environmental Legal Institute
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The so called “green energy” movement is sinking to a new low in its fanatical mission to eradicate the use of fossil fuels in America. Two examples of this obsessive hostility and deception reveal just how far “green” activists are willing to go to advance their agenda.

Recent efforts by several liberal state attorneys general to investigate those who have contrary views on manmade global warming has become an ugly campaign of intimidation and harassment. In a betrayal of public trust as well as the First Amendment, several attorneys general transformed their offices into partisan political machines, launching probes and issuing subpoenas of individuals, groups and businesses that dared to question whether factors other than man might be responsible for climate change.

After the Energy and Environment Legal Institute exposed the blatant coordination between several state attorneys general and liberal environmental groups, public reaction was widespread and appropriately harsh. As a result, a much lauded group of 17 state attorneys has run for cover and now has dwindled to arguably just one: New York’s Eric Schneiderman.

Red-faced Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker was the first to retreat in a firestorm of criticism over subpoenas against Exxon, think tanks and various research organizations. Other news reports suggest that California’s AG never started much of an investigation and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey has suspended her probe into climate “deniers.” Counter-subpoenas from the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and bold criticism from Texas AG Ken Paxton certainly helped bring about the demise of the, “Clean Power Coalition.”

Another shameful example of the green energy playbook is the Southern Environmental Law Center’s ongoing campaign against Duke Energy in North Carolina. Coal ash, a byproduct of coal after it’s used to produce electricity, is not considered to be a carcinogen by the EPA. Yet, the SELC is portraying it as an environmental monster as means of crushing an energy producer. They’re deceitfully frightening N.C. residents about drinking water quality and demanding remediation “solutions” that will needlessly cost ratepayers billions while pounding the state’s highway infrastructure for years to come.

Additionally, the SELC is actively promoting dubious information from a controversial “expert,” state toxicologist Dr. Kenneth Rudo. Rudo apparently arrived at his own safety “standard” regarding coal ash and the trace amounts of an element called chromium 6 which is found in coal ash but also occurs naturally. Rudo says there is no safe standard for any amount of chromium 6 in any water supply – a statement no other state nor the national EPA recognizes as fact.

Chromium 6 is found in some 70 percent of all water supplies in the United States, according to Paul Driessen, senior policy analyst for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, who notes that arbitrarily proclaiming any amount chromium 6 to be a health hazard, absent of any known peer-reviewed fact, needlessly alarms people. If the rest of the nation adopted Rudo’s random safety standards, tens of millions of people would be told not to drink their water.

This is not the first time Rudo’s arbitrary standard-setting has been called into question. In a Maryland case, Rudo testified that methyl tertiary-butyl (MTBE), an organic compound added to gasoline is a “probable human carcinogen” and again proclaimed, “…there is no save level.” The EPA disagrees. EPA does not classify MTBE as a human carcinogen saying the present standard for MTBE allows for a person to be exposed to the chemical every day for 70 years with only a negligibly increased risk of cancer. The case, based largely Rudo’s testimony, crumbled and awards to the plaintiffs were reversed. Rudo has also testified in the past how mushrooms, coffee, peanut butter and bread also contain carcinogens.

The green fringe believes its job is to kill off access to the affordable and reliable energy upon which we rely for our quality of life. Meanwhile, energy producers must provide that much-needed supply – while spending multi-millions every year defending themselves against often baseless attacks.

No one is arguing against accountability, remediation, and taking immediate steps to prevent future incidents when environmental accidents occur. But the rabid green movement does not often bother itself with reality, facts or even honesty. Its moral compass is guided solely by the extent to which it can shutter American energy suppliers.

In a crucial election year, we must decide whether we will support policies that want to grow our energy industry and help create thousands of new jobs, or whether to vote for policies that pander to unrealistic environmental extremists.

David Schnare, Esq. Ph.D. serves as General Counsel of the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute.