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DAVID BLACKMON: The Billionaire Class Is Fueling The War Against Abundant American Energy

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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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It has been an open secret for years now that big foundations funded by billionaire families like the Gates, Getty, and Rockefeller clans have played a big role in funding the various climate alarmist campaigns to vilify so-called “fossil fuels.” Lesser known until recently is the role these billionaire foundations play in convincing various government entities to travel down the same path.

Fox News reported this week that several billionaire interests, led by the Rockefeller Family Fund, put pressure on the New York Attorney General’s office during 2015 to target ExxonMobil with a subpoena for records related to an investigation into the company’s early research related to global warming. A series of leaked emails between Lee Wasserman, long-time director for the RFF, and then-New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s office first pitched the idea in early 2015. Schneiderman ultimately responded to the pressure, sending an initial subpoena to ExxonMobil in November that same year.

The RFF’s involvement in the push to pursue ExxonMobil extended into influencing and paying for media coverage. In September, 2015, Inside Climate News published the first in a series of articles under what it called its “Exxon Knew” series. The RFF funded that effort via multi-million-dollar grants to ICN and its parent, Lost Light Projects, as reported in the Daily Caller in 2016. In October that same year, RFF grants were also behind a series of articles jointly published by the Los Angeles Times and the Columbia School of Journalism, demonizing ExxonMobil. (RELATED: DAVID BLACKMON: Another Green Vehicle Pipe Dream Explodes Like The Hindenburg)

“We’ve spent years tracking the nexus between left-wing environmental groups and their billionaire funders, and this once again proves the connection between the financial, ideological, and political influences on the widespread legal attacks on the American energy industry,” Tom Pyle, president of the Institute For Energy Research, said in an email. “It’s clear that anti-oil sentiment in this country is being driven by this network of billionaires, activists, and politicians who show little concern for how their political campaigns hurt everyday Americans.”

The strategy behind the New York AG’s investigation evolved out of a meeting of climate activist organizations held in La Jolla, CA in 2012. There, a playbook was developed to attack the oil and gas industry using the same tactics that had been deployed against the tobacco industry starting in the 1980s. The plan’s success hinged on identifying and co-opting a “sympathetic state attorney general” willing to play the lead role in kicking off what would become an ongoing series of lawsuits targeting the industry.

The activists ultimately landed on Schneiderman as their most likely and most willing partner. When Schneiderman was forced to resign due to a personal scandal, his successor, current AG Letitia James, eagerly took up the torch. But the case was ultimately thrown out of court by the New York state Supreme Court, which characterized its claims as “hyperbolic.”

The RFF was in the news earlier this month when, on Feb. 8, The Wall Street Journal reported it and other left-wing billionaire interests – including Michael Bloomberg – were instrumental in pressuring the Biden White House to implement its January “pause” on the permitting of proposed new liquefied natural gas export facilities. 

Citing sources “familiar with the effort,” the WSJ writers detail a billionaire-backed campaign that began four years ago to co-opt and organize local community activist groups to oppose new LNG export capacity even as U.S. LNG became such a crucial supply source for American allies in Europe in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The activists then worked to “buttonhole” administration officials at conferences and meetings around the world, pressuring them to freeze the process based on flimsy, hyperbolic climate alarm arguments similar to those behind the case against ExxonMobil.

“They got our attention,” one unidentified White House official is quoted as saying by the Journal. 

Well, yes, they did, but to what end? While they are all promoted using lofty propaganda depicting these campaigns as efforts to curb the malleable concept of “climate change,” what these and other efforts by the RFF and their billionaire collaborators invariably boil down to is increasing the cost of energy for the masses, diminishing U.S. energy security, and making our country increasingly reliant on China.

Eventually, the only reasonable conclusion to make is that those outcomes are in fact the plan.

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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