No Fracking Way

Energy-in-Depth (EID) “GAS”roots – 3

by Dory Hippauf on August 22, 2012

NOTE:  This is the last part of the EID series.   Links to Parts 1&2 below:

The Untangling

I was once asked to give a visual description the “dots” and connections.  

Images like pyramid, web, or tree are too organized of a structure.

What comes to mind is to take 30 very hyperactive cats, put them in a yarn shop overnight.

Now, untangle the yarn.

That’s what I have tried to do, untangle the connections to the dots and make some sense of it.
Pay attention to intersecting dots: FTI Consulting, IPAA, Institute for Energy Research, the revolving door of Congress and more.

 

Have to Start Untangling Somewhere

Brian Kennedy Per: NATURAL GAS: BP, others push against federal regulation of fracturing, Brian Kennedy is cited as a spokesman for Energy-In-Depth.  Although, Mr. Kennedy is cited as spokesman in this and others articles, there is no sign of him on the Energy-In-Depth websites.

(Emphasis added)

“This language seems to be a restatement and endorsement of policies and procedures the industry has been following for decades, as mandated by federal, state and local laws,” said Brian Kennedy, a spokesman for Energy-In-Depth. “To the extent the language helps clarify the existing framework and highlight its overwhelming success to date, it could be a valuable educational tool moving forward.”

“Environmentalists opposed Pombo for efforts to rewrite species protections and increase oil drilling in Alaska and off-shore while fundraising from industry groups. He also faced questions about ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in a congressional influence peddling scandal.”Former Aide – House Committee on Natural Resources

ANOTHER IMPORTANT DOT TO REMEMBER: INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY RESEARCH (IER)

Steven “Steve” Everly: EID Spokesperson

The strategic communication division of FTI Consulting, Financial Dynamics helps ensure that its clients’ brand, reputation and market valuation reflect the true worth of their businesses.

Steve Everley is Manager of Policy Research at American Solutions and a contributing author to To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-  Socialist Machine by Newt Gingrich. Prior to joining American Solutions, Everley worked as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kansas and attended graduate school at the University of Southern California.

Robert P Murphy is also a columnist at Townhall.com

Robert P. Murphy is an economist with IER specializing in climate change. His research focuses on the proper discount rate to be used in cost-benefit analyses and the implications of structural uncertainty for policy solutions.

Per SOURCEWATCH: The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a state-level conservative policy think tank in Michigan. Founded in 1987, it is the largest state-level think tank in the nation. It was established by the state’s leading conservative activists to promote free market, pro-business policies. The Center voices its policy positions though publications and has moved beyond Michigan by helping the leaders of similar conservative institutions to improve their operations in many other states and countries around the world.

As a side note, you may remember Rachel Maddow bumping heads with the Mackinac Center about a year ago:

“The latest incarnation of this breed of conservatism weirdly involves this show,” Maddow said. As she described it, a conservative think tank in Michigan called the Mackinac Center submitted a FOIA request seeking any emails from labor professors at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University. The center demanded any email that includes the words “Scott Walker,” “Wisconsin,” “Madison,” and “Maddow.”

Lisa Wallace is a former aide to Former Representative Pombo, and is currently the Senior Vice President, of Operations and Development for IER.

 Wallace spent twelve years working on Capitol Hill for Congressman George Radanovich and the House Committee on Resources. Initially, she worked as administrative assistant to Congressman Radanovich, where she served as senior advisor to the congressman on all matters of policy, personnel, political strategy and district operations and managed multi-million dollar budget, legislative, communications and support staff.  As Chief Financial Officer for the House Committee on Resources, Ms. Wallace managed and administered a $15 million bi-annual committee budget, oversaw all business operations of the full committee, its five subcommittees, and the Office of the Chief Clerk, and managed a 50-member professional staff.

 In 2009 IER ran a campaign on “green jobs” attacking the expansion of renewables energies. IER commissioned three studies on renewable energies and green jobs in Denmark, Germany and Spain. These studies, by different think tanks, were then promoted by IER and other free market think tanks in the US and Europe.

Tell me again about how natural gas is a bridge fuel to renewable energy?

Another Tangle
The Institute for Energy Research (IER)

Per SOURCEWATCH: founded in 1989 from a predecessor non-profit organization, advocates positions on environmental issues including deregulation of utilities, climate change denial, and claims that conventional energy sources are virtually limitless. It is a member of the Sustainable Development Network.

Robert L. Bradley Jr:  Chief Executive Officer and President of IER

Currently a member of the International Association for Energy Economics, the American Historical Association, former Director of Public Relations Policy at Enron.

In August 2011, Dr. Robert Bradley, CEO of the IER, spoke at the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 For more on ALEC see Sourcewatch’s page “ALEC EXPOSED”.

 American Energy Alliance is a “partner” of Institute for Energy Relations (emphasis added):

The American Energy Alliance (AEA) was founded in 2008 by Thomas Pyle, who previously lobbied on behalf of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and Koch Industries when Delay served as Whip and before Delay, as House Majority Leader, stepped down from the U.S. House of Representatives under an ethical cloud.

Thomas Pyle was the founder of his own consulting firm, Pyle Consulting, Inc.:

“…an active public affairs consulting firm with a wide range of private and not-for-profit customers. Prior to starting his own firm, Pyle served as vice president of the Rhoads Group in Washington, DC where he represented and advised a variety of association and corporate clients in meeting their strategic public policy goals and priorities. He also served as director of federal affairs for a major integrated manufacturing and services company focusing on energy, environment, regulatory and transportation issues.  Before coming to the private sector, Pyle held numerous positions on Capitol Hill including serving a policy analyst for the Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives and as staff director for the Congressional Western Caucus, as well as other legislative staff positions.”

Travis Windle : EID Presenter.  Although Travis Windle’s name does not appear on any of the EID websites, he was cited as a presenter on a powerpoint presentation: THE MARCELLUS SHALE: Powering America’s Future,Thanks to Hydraulic Fracturing, dated October 14, 2010, and the email listed for Mr. Windle is at EID.

Note name and email address in lower right corner.

Windle has also been cited as Spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coaltion:

“Likewise, Marcellus Shale Coalition Spokesman Travis Windle said the closure of any one well will have little to no impact on those using it for waste disposal.”

Shannon Brushe is a Spokesperson for EID and an Associate for FTI Consulting.   “Brushe provides general research and writing support for FD’s Energy sector and Public Affairs practice and has recently supported clients such as the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the National Petrochemical Association of America, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition.”
EID in O-HI-O

In addition to the EID Marcellus the Northeast Initiative, there is also EID-The Ohio Project.

Rhonda Reda: EID – The Ohio Project, Executive Director

(Emphasis added)

“Ms. Reda currently serves on the Public Outreach Committee of the Interstate  Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the Colonial Drake Well Historical “Oil150” Steering Committee. She is an active member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Ohio Geological Society. Recently, Ms. Reda served on the White House Task Force on Energy Education Award, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission’s Public Outreach Stewardship Award. Ms. Reda is a graduate of both Ohio University and Edison State College.”

Joel “JR” Rudicil is a Field Director for Energy-In-Depth (EID) -Ohio, as well as President of JR Resources, and on the Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA) Board of Trustees as Secretary and Treasurer.

Thomas Stewart: EID – The Ohio Project, Executive Vice President

Michael “Mike” Chadsey is the Campaign Manager for Energy-In-Depth (EID) -Ohio.  He was also the Northeast Ohio Regional Representativefor LT Gov. Mary Taylor (OH).

Are you seeing the pattern between Gas & Oil industry and Political connections?

Sorry, More Tangles
Energy-in-Depth is not the only “energy” front group with FTI Consulting connections.   Secure our Fuels website is registered to Dittus Communications.

Secure our Fuels: http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/secureourfuels.org

Secure Our Fuels is a “project” of the Consumer Energy Alliance.

Salon.com, (12/15/2011) published a story by Geoff Dembicki “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards” which pulls the curtain away from the Consumer Energy Alliance.

Excerpt (Emphasis added):

“The story in the emails, reported for the first time here in Salon and The Tyee, Canada’s leading independent online news site, traces a year in the relationship of Michael Whatley, a GOP-connected oil industry lobbyist and his friend, Gary Mar, a smooth-talking and ambitious diplomat at the Canadian embassy in the Washington, DC.

 The messages lay bare a sophisticated and stealthy public relations offensive, one designed to manipulate the U.S. political system; to deluge the media with messages favorable to the tar-sands industry; to sway key legislators at state and federal levels; and most importantly, to defeat any attempt to make the gasoline and diesel pumped everyday into U.S. vehicles less damaging to the climate. The goal of it all? “Defeat” Obama’s effort to reduce carbon consumption and keep America hooked on Canada’s $441 billion tar sands industry, no matter what the cost to our planet’s future.

 Perhaps the best place to start is on December 30, 2009. It was a bad day for Michael Whatley, founding partner at a K-Street consulting firm in Washington called HBW Resources that has close ties to Alberta’s tar sands industry. “

 Dembicki continues:  (Emphasis added) :

“Then in the late 2000’s, Whatley’s firm created the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a “grassroots” organization supported by such prominent tar sands producers as BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell and Norway’s Statoil. The group claims to be providing “a voice for consumers interested in vital public issues.”

 Environmental groups, however, dismiss the claim, saying the grassroots look more like astroturf, and the consumer rhetoric is a guise. “They’re a front group that represents the interests of the oil industry,” said analyst Luke Tonachel of Natural Resources Defense Council in an interview.

The Consumer Energy Alliance has been one of the most outspoken critics of low carbon fuel standard legislation. In August 2009, it began running a series of slick radio and TV ads in Tennessee, Montana and the Dakotas, warning that such policies “threaten thousands of American jobs” and “would be disastrous for American consumers.” Each ad instructed viewers to complain to their state’s representatives in Congress, providing phone numbers to make it easier.”

The CEA was created in the late 2000s by Michael Whatley, a founding partner of a Washington, D.C.-based Republican lobbying group HBW Resources.

For more on the CEA/HBW Resources efforts to thwart cleaner fuels see “Who’s behind the attack campaigns against cleaner transportation fuels”, by Liz Barratt-Brown of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Tiny Bits Left Over

For some reason, when the untangling is done, there seems to be tiny bits left over.

From EID-Northeast Marcellus Initiative we have:

Tom Shepstone – Campaign Director, and owner of Shepstone Management Company.  His blurb on EID reads:

“Led on the ground by Wayne County, Pennsylvania, native Tom Shepstone, EID Northeast draws on the considerable expertise and technical insight of EID’s coalition partners in the area (and, as needed, across the country) to bring forth the facts on the promise and potential of the Marcellus Shale.”

Nicole Jacobs – Deputy Campaign Director, and an Independent Consultant for ShaleNET

ShaleNET describes itself as:
In addition to the consortium partners, other key partners involved in this initiative include 15 Workforce Investment areas and their One Stops targeting 69 counties across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York (if/when the moratorium is lifted); PA Independent Oil and Gas Association; education and training community within the Marcellus Shale footprint; and the Veterans Administration.

ShaleNet Links to Partner Websites

About ShaleNET

ShaleNET Talent Match is the result of a grant funded by the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Its mission is to design a comprehensive recruitment, training, placement, and retention program for high priority occupations in the natural gas drilling and production industry.

Bill desRosiers was a Field Director.  He has left Energy-In-Depth: Northeast Marcellus Initiative and is now a member of Cabot Oil & Gas External Affairs Team.

Meet the Cabot Crew: Bill desRosiers. (Excerpt):

“Bill joined our External Affairs team after a two-year position as a Field Director for Energy-In-Depth: Northeast Marcellus Initiative.”

The End?

There are many more such campaigns going on across many social and business sectors.   It is up to each of us as individuals to pay attention, to do our own investigation and research.

I have 3 simple rules:

  1. Disregard half of what you read or hear and question the rest.
  2. Follow the Money
  3. Connect the Dots

Is this the end?  No, one dot tends to lead to another.

When you see a political or issue ad – pay attention to who is behind it.  Check’em out and you too can “connect the dots”

———–

Recommended Reading: Trust Us, We’re Experts – How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future
by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber offer a chilling exposé on the manufacturing of “independent experts.” Public relations firms and corporations have seized upon a slick new way of getting you to buy what they have to sell: Let you hear it from a neutral “third party,” like a professor or a pediatrician or a soccer mom or a watchdog group. The problem is, these third parties are usually anything but neutral. They have been handpicked, cultivated, and meticulously packaged to make you believe what they have to say–preferably in an “objective” format like a news show or a letter to the editor. And in some cases, they have been paid handsomely for their “opinions.”

By the end of the 3rd chapter, you will never look at a political or issue ad the same.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

TXsharon August 22, 2012 at 10:09 am

Why Drums, PA? There is nothing there.

Reply

TXsharon August 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm

The “GAS”roots guys generously wrote a letter for our Texas Land Commissioner who wants to be Lt. Gov. They used all their best talking points. http://www.texassharon.com/2012/08/22/jerry-patterson-fires-back-at-me-and-fellow-texans/

Reply

Dory Hippauf August 23, 2012 at 5:28 am

I encourage you to read this series. You really need to understand how these “public campaigns” work and who are the ones behind them.

Debating low-level spokespeople is like debating the Talisman Energy coloring book character “Talisman Terry, your friendly Fracosaurus”. TheTalisman Terry doesn’t care – it’s a fictional character used to promote the product.

Spokespeople are not all that different.

A Spokesperson job is to memorize talking points and regurgitate them on command.

A Spokesperson does not run or fund the “public campaign”.

Reply

Chip Northrup August 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

Where this pricey strategy falls apart is on the ground – where they are stuck with a grab bag of misfits for their ground game

http://www.scribd.com/doc/78149419/Energy-in-Depth-Tom-Shepstone

And they labor mightily to turn out fracking farces like Truthland as the centerpiece of their “counter-insurgency”

http://www.scribd.com/doc/97190149/Truthland

Reply

Winifred August 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

I had to stop reading several times and take a break to clear my head. I realize now my understanding of the incestual relations between corporations and associations has been rudimentary at best.

I can’t imagine the amount of research and understanding this series entailed.

This needs to be spread far and wide.

Reply

Debbie August 23, 2012 at 11:42 am

Oh, Winifred. You wouldn’t believe how far and wide it’s getting spread :)

Reply

Mariana Griggs August 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Science is not Good Science when Industry pays for it to be conducted. The arrogance of business is not unbelievable. That’s what happens when the bottom line is profit, not health, safety and doing the morally correct thing.

Reply

Andy Mechling August 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Dory your work is superb.

In my view, this type of effort represents environmental organizing at its finest.

I am very glad you are on our side. Please do not relent.

You make them squirm in a whole new way. Thank You.

Reply

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