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DAVID BLACKMON: Climate Wokesters Find A New Way To Destroy Middle America

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David Blackmon David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.
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With the filing of California’s latest lawsuit against American energy producers, the ill-advised and foreign funded national climate litigation campaign is ramping back up again. But a curious trend is evident: the “big green” agenda isn’t just spreading its tentacles in coastal, heavily Democratic states like California or New Jersey as we’ve come to expect, but it’s creeping into states more traditionally considered to be oil and gas country.

One such region is the Appalachian Basin where energy serves as the backbone of its manufacturing economy and labor force, has deep roots in fossil fuels, yet has managed to deliver substantial emissions reductions. But these states do this through innovation and industry cooperation, not through foolish and frivolous litigation. In contrast to this successful approach, the litigation campaign that has waged war on energy producers for over a decade is now coming into oil and gas country to sue this key driver of the regional economy out of business. And with it, the thousands of jobs and billions to state economies that the industry provides.

These moves are especially evident in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The anti-energy activist group the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) recently published “climate costs” reports to fuel what they hope will look like a grassroots movement in support of litigation and are openly courting public officials that may be sympathetic to their cause. But a quick lift of the veil shows it’s not “grassroots” at all. (RELATED: STEPHEN MOORE: If Biden Really Wants To Help Israel, He Must Stop The War On American Energy)

It’s a well-documented pattern that CCI pushes for friendly plaintiffs across the country to sue American energy producers in an attempt to accomplish their ultimate goal of shutting down and eliminating the oil and gas industry.

CCI’s pitch has been rejected in coastal, blue states like Maryland, New Hampshire and Maine, while the campaign’s marquee case in New York was handed an embarrassing defeat. Do we really think this bodes well for Appalachia, where lawsuits from keep-it-in-the-ground activists threaten the very lifeblood of the state and economy? Not likely.

Moreover, the group is funded by billionaires like Leonardo DiCaprio and the Rockefeller family, and even foreign billionaires like British hedge fund executive Chris Hohn.

RealClear Investigations reports that the U.K’s Hohn is propping up the litigious effort by way of his “Children’s Investment Fund Foundation” which directs millions of dollars to CCI, raising serious questions as to how foreign agents are extending their influence and sidestepping U.S. lobbying laws via their fat wallets. It seems likely most in Appalachia would look askance at billionaires that advocate for shutting down a vital industry while they sit comfortably on their ivory perches or private jets (that, needless to say, rely on that very fuel).

The groundwork for future litigation in Pennsylvania and Ohio also comes with an eye toward election season – something that former President Donald Trump has keenly taken notice of. In his recently released energy plan, Trump vowed to take on the “wave of frivolous litigation” from environmental extremists that holds up energy development and raises costs for consumers.

Remember that it was just last summer when gas prices reached record highs across the country. Today, we’re seeing oil prices inch higher and higher again thanks to backwards energy policies from the Biden administration as he follows through on his campaign promise of “no new drilling,” launches a regulatory onslaught against producers, and shows a mind-bending willingness to put Venezuelan oil production over our own. (RELATED: DAVID BLACKMON: No, ExxonMobil’s Deal With Pioneer Is Not A ‘Threat To Democracy’)

Appalachian voters in the crucial electoral states of Pennsylvania and Ohio – where jobs and the economy reign supreme – will not take kindly to higher fuel, utility, and consumer prices as they head into the ballot box, in addition to lawsuits that destroy their livelihood.

Of course, what the litigation-hungry conveniently forget is what happens next, after they follow through with their promise to gut and sue the life out of the energy industry? Our world requires and demands oil and gas. In fact, the global economy used more oil, coal, and natural gas than ever during 2022 and is very likely to exceed those levels in 2023.

It would take decades to build out a new system that is both reliable and sustainable and, in the meantime, absurd lawsuits against energy companies that produce the resources our entire global system relies on are not only wildly hypocritical, but would raise prices, cut jobs, and dramatically weaken the economy.

Good luck with that message.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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