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Energy Justice Summer or Just Another Fractivist Ego Trip?

Energy Justice - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Something called Energy Justice Summer is underway and it apparently includes fractivist trips to the UK, funded by the usual suspects and taxpayers.

Reportedly, a second-rate Pennsylvania fractivist named Elizabeth Arnold is on tour of the UK as part of a #TalkFracking campaign being promoted on Twitter. Haven’t heard of her? Well, she’s the individual who disrupted the debate among Democrat Party candidates for Pennsylvania Governor a few weeks back. She wrote up this story of herself for a website called Common Dreams. It’s the sort of shallow, supercilious claptrap we tend to write when we’re young – an ego trip.

Arnold describes herself as follows:

Elizabeth Arnold is an electrician by day and activist by night. She lives in Philadelphia and has been organizing with amazing activists from across PA since the Bush-era. Together they are organizing for the long haul. They are starting a campaign house in NE PA where youth can spend their summers learning and working in communities directly impacted by fracking.

Energy Justice

This paragraph had the ring of a campaign organizer, and this, together with the fact this electrician somehow had the resources and time to tour the UK on an anti-fracking crusade, immediately suggested one or more of the big-money special interest groups behind most anti-fracking campaigns were behind this one too. The reference to a “campaign house” in Northeastern Pennsylvania also suggested a connection to our friend Alex Lotorto, a very personable kid who seems to wish he had been alive during the Red Decade.

Alex is always out and about trying to stir things up for one cause or another and frequently talks about training centers and the like where, of course, he can be the center of attention as the trainer. I can’t help liking him but he’s as predictable as a clock stuck at 11:50 PM, where he can alternatively claim; a) we are at the brink of disaster with little time left, or b) at the breaking of a new collectivist day that will somehow work this time after being tried and failing every other time. He’s protested everything imaginable and has done so at multiple universities other than the one he actually attended. Like Vera Scroggins, he’s drawn to the bug zapper on a regular basis hoping to get another few minutes in the limelight.

energy justice

UK #TalkFracking campaign poster example – Sure to convince many!

And, sure enough, when you click the campaign house link in Elizabeth Arnold’s self-important description of herself, we are taken to the website of something called Energy Justice Summer, with a video presented by Alex Lotorto, who is also listed as one of the confirmed attendees. The video even includes footage from Vera Scroggins. Energy Justice Summer is a project of a Philadelphia group called the Energy Justice Network, which operates corporately as Action Center, Inc. (another group that bashes corporations until it needs one).

Action Center, Inc. is a group of professional and serial protesters who organized prior to fracking becoming a household word and latched onto it as a target of opportunity when it came along. The corporation’s latest 990 return shows in took in $114,988 in 2012 (it did much better in 2009 when it claimed revenue of $358,465). The two main players are Mike Ewall and Traci Confer, who started out protesting incinerators and wood biomass projects in the 1990’s. They have now advanced, in Traci’s case at least, from fighting renewables to fighting fracking, so they are certifiably 100% anti-energy. Now, they’ve apparently enlisted Alex and Elizabeth in their cause(s).

Action Center, Inc. got $28,000 or roughly one-quarter of it funding in 2012 from another non-profit corporation called the Earth Island Institute, Inc., which also funds Chesapeake Climate Action, the folks who produced that faulty FLIR camera video a while back that tried to interpret heat as fracking emissions. Earth Island Institute, Inc. is funded by the Park Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Goldman Environmental Foundation and its affiliates (Helen Slottje’s admirers), all of whom we’ve written about here before, plus several other of the usual wealthy special-interest suspects who fund the NRDC and the like.

The usual suspects also include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which has given Earth Island Institute some $670,000 over the last several years to sponsor “its Energy Action project which organizes and mobilizes 18-35 year olds around reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Yes, Elizabeth Arnold is out there protesting energy development here and in the UK on the Rockefeller dime. The irony doesn’t get much better than that. Here’s betting she doesn’t have a clue who’s taking advantage of her ego to spread their message.

The biggest single funder of Earth Island Institute, Inc. doesn’t appear to be any of these, however. Rather, that dishonor goes to government, which has been funding the radical group (formed by David Brower after he left Friends of the Earth) like it was some agency. Here is the government take by Earth Island Institute, Inc. over the last several years:

2012 – $503,051

2011 – $1,876,019

2010 – $661,774

2009 – $598,738

2008 – $1,264,005

2007- $405,737

2006 – $498,801

2005 – $947,229

2004 – $138,679

That’s $6.9 million over nine years – an average of $766,000 per year of taxpayer money going to fund a radical special interest organization that sues the government and opposes fracking. Exactly who in government funds Earth Island Institute, Inc. is not clear but perhaps it has something to do with this scheme. Perhaps, too, some enterprising journalist (or member of Congress with subpoena powers) might want to inquire how it is we’re funneling taxpayer money to support the usual suspects in funding Elizabeth Arnold’s little ego-trip to the UK. That would be true energy justice.

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11 thoughts on “Energy Justice Summer or Just Another Fractivist Ego Trip?

  1. I’m confused. They are about saving the environment so they are taking people from northeast Pennsylvania, home of Dimock, on a plane across the ocean to learn about the impacts of fracking?

  2. so what’s your point ? I’m sure there are many on your side that receive money’s to chant your line too .Please don’t tell me no .The opposition to a process that will never be a safe process due to it’s design is much larger and wiser than you can imagine ….Thank God

        • We have plenty of hits, Tom, typically more than 1,000 per day. Appreciate your concern for my welfare, though!

          • Your welfare does indeed cross my mind each time I pump some of my SWN fracing dollars into your county’s economy when I’m passing through there, Mr. Shepstone. Or across the Delaware River therefrom in New York, another one of the places where the jealous wannabe-fracers are. I recently remarked to one of my “anti” friends as we were cruising through there that I’ve found these areas to be like a time warp, with not an iota of activity of our friends the fracmen in sight but rather, just a forclosure-auction sign here and there. And your buddy Cabot has done more than any “anti” has ever done to keep it that way. Not that I mind, though, as it helps keep the price of MY gas levitated!

  3. Pingback: Energy Justice Summer: Inhabitat Reports on the Fight Against Fracking in Northeast Pennsylvania | Energy Justice Summer

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