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Texas Fracking Proponents Blame Russia For Anti-Fracking Sentiment

September 10th, 2014

Two members of the Texas Railroad Commission suggested that Russian oil interests have been working with environmental groups to oppose Texas fracking operations. Commission chairman Barry Smitherman and fellow member David Porter have blamed Gazprom, the Russian-government-owned gas conglomerate, for supporting environmental groups that have protested against Texas fracking methods. The Commission members have also told reporters that they believe Russian gas companies invested in the documentary film “Gasland”, which highlighted the dangers of fracking.

Texas Fracking Debate Stirs Controversy

The debate over Texas fracking operations has stirred up controversy for politicians and power brokers in the oil-rich state. Texas fracking activities have allowed oil companies to access petroleum and natural gas deposits inaccessible by conventional drilling methods, creating new jobs and spurring the once-moribund oil industry. However, the new technology is not without its perils. Texas fracking projects have been attributed to drinking water that catches fire, disposal wells that cause earthquakes and the use of high volumes of water in parts of the state afflicted by record droughts.

Texas Fracking Backers See Russian Conspiracy

Both commissioners have remarked on a potential Russian conspiracy as the power behind Texas fracking opposition. Mr. Porter posted a press release stating that he was “Expos(ing) Putin Plot to Hurt Texas Economy”. He also sent a two-page letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stating his belief that Russia was out to oppose Texas fracking operations, as well as those in other parts of the U.S. and Europe.

When the Denton City Council met to propose a Texas fracking ban within its city limits, Mr. Smitherman mentioned rumors that the Russian government and its gas companies were “secretly working with environmental groups” to ban fracking. He challenged City Council members to consider “whether the funding and manpower behind this effort…is coming from out of state sources.”

Texas Fracking Opponent Responds to Allegations

Josh Fox, the writer/director of Gasland, responded to the Texas fracking proponents and denied all allegations of secret collaboration with Russian interests. Mr. Fox called Mr. Porter’s statements “outright fabrications” and “utterly ridiculous”. He also called Mr. Porter’s attempts to discredit his efforts at raising awareness of the dangers of Texas fracking operations “a brazen deceitful attempt to stir up controversy.” He responded with allegations that the Railroad Commission “has been derelict in its duty” and that he is “opposed to gas fracking anywhere on earth.”

Source: Houston Press

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