Special interest groups like the Sierra Club are endorsing candidates across the state who fall in line with their aggressive ideology.
The election cycle is in full force all around the country. Many people are taking time to understand their candidates’ platforms. Others, are just happy to wear wool and do what they are told. Sadly, that seems to be the prevailing attitude in Maryland, where special interest politics holds huge sway.
I do not want to get into politics as a whole, but we cannot hide the fact politics does shape our natural gas future.
Maryland is a very diverse state and has some very red areas, politically speaking; however, the state leans blue due to the more congested areas of the state such as Prince George’s and Baltimore Counties. Not surprising, these are also the areas that led the way to a state-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing in the State.
Prince George’s County was the first county in the state to pass a ban – even though they had no gas to drill. Meanwhile, Baltimore County’s Senator Bobby Zirkin ideologically bullied formerly-pro-fracking Governor, Larry Hogan into a ban. And, let us not forget the demagogue from Frederick County, Sen. Ron Young, who, against all evidence, resorted to claiming natural gas natural gas development in Maryland would destroy tourism. He also opposed the Potomac Pipeline project.
Also, what is not surprising is the formal endorsements, by special interest groups such as the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, of several of these candidates who fought natural gas development and infrastructure. I follow their Facebook page and the last few days, I have been bombarded with these ridiculous endorsements. There have been 114 endorsements from what I can tell, all leaning one direction politically, and giving me a list of people not to vote for; regardless of their other stances.
The Chapter website lists the very factual and scientific way they choose their process: agree with them or else.
The Maryland Sierra Club has a rigorous process for endorsement. The first step is to review the voting records, public statements, and public advocacy of incumbents seeking re-election to decide upon early endorsements. Next, the Sierra Club reviews questionnaire responses and conducts interviews of other incumbents, as well as additional candidates. This includes legislators appointed to their seats and incumbents seeking to move from the House of Delegates to the State Senate. The Maryland Sierra Club’s Political Committee conducts thorough reviews of all candidates based on their environmental records and policy positions.
It’s not just in Maryland either; it is national. In Colorado, the Sierra Club is throwing money toward electing Colorado Rep. Jared Polis. EnergyInDepth’s coverage made me laugh out loud as they posted what is happening there:
“Colorado Rep. Jared Polis will benefit from a new, large environmental investment in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
“The state Sierra Club today announced a $600,000 campaign for the progressive Democrat, who has a reputation in Congress as a staunch environmentalist. The effort includes television ads and mailers, organizing and digital campaigning.”
This is happening everywhere in the country as highly political non-profits with one charitable arm and another political arm mix their money and their messages so no one can tell who’s doing what or that tax-exempt donations are following the rules. It is one gigantic scam, as far as I can see. Non-profits are doing politics at the expense of taxpayers and objective public policy. And, no one is stopping them.
While many of these hemp-shoe hippies plead allegiance to the Club and scream “Koch Brothers” and “Citizen United” every time they are defeated, they exercise the very same tools of illicit influence; pretending to be charitable enterprises when they’re really just har-core political outfits bilking the system. Make no mistake; these are special interest groups no different than those they use as whipping boys and we should be worried about how their bullying and illicit funding practices are affecting our republic.