The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has entered into self-destructive mode, consumed by ideological fervor, radicalism and hatred of all who don’t share its (her) views.
If you’re watching closely you can see the slow (or not so slow) disintegration of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network into a bitter fringe group hell-bent on tearing down everything – allies and friends included – if it doesn’t get its way and soon. It has already morphed into a cult of personality around the volatile Maya Van Rossum whose pictures of herself adorn everything connected with the organization, as if she was the Supreme Leader of some third-world autocracy.
Now, it’s attacking those over whom it previously had much influence for the latter’s lack of ideological impurity. It’s also playing ever looser with the lobbying rules applying to supposedly charitable non-profits. It’s in full self-destruct mode.
There was a time when the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, even if it wasn’t necessarily admired, enjoyed a level of tolerance by other more level-headed people who simply ascribed its shrill tone to a passionate desire to protect the Delaware. Carol Collier, the former Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive director fell for that line. She went so far as to put the Riverkeeper on five of seven DRBC Committees, treating the organization like family. Eventually, she even went to the same well of financial support (the William Penn Foundation) for her own DRBC and post-DRBC endeavors, creating a web of conflicted special interests to which was oblivious. Maya was able to corrupt the DRBC under Collier’s leadership and enjoyed some level of credibility.
It’s been clear for some time, though, the Delaware Riverkeeper (or the Povertykeeper as I like to refer to the group), has been trending ever more radical. Pipeline issues, in particular, have taken Maya to new levels of apoplexy on behalf of the cause. She’s now so angry she’s lashing out at efforts of the Wolf Administration, where friends from her PennFuture sister entity (also funded by the William Penn Foundation) run things. She’s going after her allies for not being true blue or genuine green enough, attacking them for not adopting her own scorched earth campaign against change. One of Maya’s latest tweets (shown below and followed by a blow-up of the image attached) is illustrative:
Maya is referring here to the task force Pennsylvania DEP Secretary John Quigley set up with the following in mind:
The purpose and goals of the Task Force are to define a series of best practices and recommendations to:
- Plan, site and route pipelines in ways that avoid or reduce environmental and community impacts;
- Amplify and engage in meaningful public participation;
- Maximize opportunities for predictable and efficient permitting;
- Employ construction methods that reduce environmental and community impact; and
- Ensure pipeline safety and integrity during operation of the pipeline.
The Task Force will provide a final report detailing its findings to Governor Tom Wolf by February 2016.
I’m no fan of the task force idea as I fear it’s part and parcel of am overall campaign by Wolf and underlings to squeeze the natural gas industry. When I look at the objectives and the people appointed to the task force, though, I am forced to give it the benefit of the doubt, assuming Quigley pays any attention to them. I know several of the members and they’re a good group overall with a mission that, superficially at least, is one we can mostly agree upon. The composition of the membership and the workgroups is also balanced with people from industry, government, academia and the environmental side, including PennFuture, from which Quigley, Policy Advisor John Hanger and DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn all come.
Despite all this, Maya Van Rossum has declared war. She’s told John Quigley, no friend of the industry and her erstwhile ally, he’s now the enemy. I could, of course, be cynical here and suppose this is exactly what Quigley desires her do, but we must assume, at the outset at least, the task force is what it is intended to be, an honest attempt to provide for necessary pipeline infrastructure in the best manner possible.
Maya hates that idea and wants none of it. She’s out to destroy pipelines, the natural gas industry (which is clearly the place environmentalists and industry can meet in the middle if they give a damn about improving air quality) and anyone who dares speak a favorable word of reasonableness or utters the possibility of compromise. John Quigley is now the enemy in her mind.
That’s the self-destructive behavior of a true radical and the Delaware Riverkeeper, like its Clean Air Council sister, is using Haas family money to pursue very radical ends.
They’re also lobbying like there are no rules to govern it. Here, to the right, is another set of tweets worth perusing for two reasons.
First, notice the opposition to using water acid mine drainage water for fracking, which is as “win-win” as anything could be and is supported by Wolf and company).
Secondly, note the undeniable attempts to influence legislation in these tweets at legislators. The Delaware Riverkeeper tells us, in its 990 return filed with the Internal Revenue Service for 2013, it spent absolutely nothing – zero dollars – on grass roots lobbying and only $2,304 on “attempts to influence a legislative body.”
These tweets are just the beginning and the tiniest example of what the Delaware Riverkeeper does every day, all year round. It is one continuous grass roots and direct lobbying effort but the organization told the IRS it spent but $2,304 (that’s one-tenth of one percent) of its budget on lobbying, Is there anyone who believes that to be the case?
No, of course not, but they Delaware Riverkeeper says it, nonetheless, confidently secure no one will check, no one will challenge and no one will do anything about it. Such arrogance, though, produces recklessness, especially when you’re making enemies of everyone, including your former friends. It that recklessness, that self-destructive tendency, that wrecks radical organizations and this one is well on its way.