How Natural Gas Drilling Contaminates Drinking Water Sources [Infographic]

How Natural Gas Drilling Contaminates Drinking Water Sources

How Natural Gas Drilling Contaminates Drinking Water Sources

Columbus Dispatch: Group says Kasich evading records request

This article was published in the Columbus Dispatch.

By: Randy Ludlow
The Columbus Dispatch – August 13, 2014 11:34 AM

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A group dedicated to shining “a light on the fossil fuel lobby’s influence and propaganda” is warring with the administration of Ohio Gov. John Kasich over his office’s response to its public records request.

In a blog post, the Checks and Balances Project accuses the administration of evading its request for records concerning Senate Bill 310, which weakened Ohio’s renewable energy standards. The law was crafted by majority Republican lawmakers and signed by Kasich.

Simply put, the Kasich administration said in its response letter to the group, no records exist concerning the Check and Balance Project’s areas of inquiry and it failed to sufficiently identify records it sought concerning meetings between the governor’s staff and electrical (coal-burning) utility representatives.

The group was particularly interested in meetings between Kasich staff and conservative stalwarts such as the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Americans for Prosperity.

There were no meetings involving the Kochs or the conservative organizations, said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols. Yes, the governor’s staff met with utility representatives — as did Democratic legislators — but those gatherings did not generate any records, he said.

“We’ve never heard of this organization,” Nichols said. “It should put in a public records request with every Democrat who voted against (Senate Bill) 310 to prove they didn’t meet with Al Gore, the Earth Liberation Front and with (green-energy advocate and Eagles’ drummer) Don Henley.”

Toledo Blade Guest Editorial: On energy bill, Kasich owes Ohioans an explanation

This Guest Editorial originally appeared in the Toledo Blade on Sunday, July 20, 2014.

Excerpt:

“We made this request in light of a recent $12,155 donation — the maximum contribution allowed by Ohio campaign finance law — by David Koch to Governor Kasich’s 2014 re-election campaign. We’re also curious about the significant donations the governor has received from Ohio utilities, such as FirstEnergy.

“Ohioans deserve to know why Mr. Kasich signed Senate Bill 310 even though it could cost Ohio consumers $1.1 billion, could put 25,000 Ohio jobs at risk, and was overwhelmingly opposed by Ohioans, a significant number of major businesses, and the state’s leading newspapers. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, a nonpartisan agency, concluded that the state’s renewables policy would save consumers tens of millions of dollars.”

Donors Trust: The Secret Group Funding Attacks on Clean Energy & Climate Science

New research shows almost $120 million flowed from two secretive groups, called “Donors Trust” and “Donors Capital” to 102 groups denying climate science and attacking clean energy. The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg reports that “the funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of think tanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarizing ‘wedge issue’ for hardcore conservatives.”

Greenpeace research (.pdf) into the tax records of these organizations shows that publicly-disclosed funding for climate denial groups from foundations connected to the Koch Brothers began to decrease in 2006. But, funding from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund soared from less than $20 million per year to almost $35 million per year from 2006 to 2009. Kert Davies, research director at Greenpeace said to the Guardian, “These groups are increasingly getting money from sources that are anonymous or untraceable. There’s no transparency, no accountability for the money. There is no way to tell who is funding them.”

Many of these organizations funded by Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund are also working to attack clean energy. Goldenberg notes in a companion article that recipients, including groups like the Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), have received millions from the two secretive organizations.

AFP, which received $7.6 million from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund in 2010 (43% of its budget), drove anti-wind efforts last fall, leading a coalition of fossil fuel-funded groups to write a letter calling on Congress to block tax credits for wind energy. The Washington Post reported in November 2012 that the Heartland Institute, which received $1.6 million from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund in 2010 (27% of its budget), joined with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to push model legislation to state legislators in an effort to eliminate state clean energy standards across the country. In addition, organizations that are part of the State Policy Network (SPN), which received $4.8 million from Donors Trust in 2010 (36% of its budget), published reports bashing clean energy standards that are now likely being used to attack clean energy policies in states across the country (like Kansas and Ohio).

Furthermore, the Guardian revealed in a third story that Donors Trust bankrolled the Franklin Centre for Government and Public Integrity, a newly established organization founded in 2009, which is running a campaign to “stop state governments moving towards renewable energy.” The Franklin Centre has strong ties to American’s for Prosperity and the Koch Brothers, including former staff members of both AFP and a Koch Family Foundation according to a PR Watch investigation.

Are these attacks ideological? Or are other fossil fuel interests like the Koch Brothers funding these efforts to stop a potential market threat? We know that fossil fuel corporations that have a financial incentive to stop the growth of the clean energy industry and their benefactors and foundations have funded many of these groups over the years. With an ability to hide the money trail through groups like Donors Trust, I would bet fossil fuel interests continue to fund fake grassroots campaigns and front groups to attack clean energy.