The 11th Hour Connection: The Dark Side of Fractivism

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


An Energy In Depth expose reveals the 11th Hour connection; how special interests on the dark side manipulate things behind the scene to get their way.

My friend Steve Everley over at Energy In Depth has written another of his classic expose pieces where he dissects and explains how fractivism works. This time it’s about a report written five years ago that lays the strategy subsequently employed by the usual suspects (Heinz Endowments, Park Foundation, William Penn Foundation, et al) to attack fracking on health grounds using spurious means. Entitled “Anti-Fracking Donor Memo Mapped Out Strategy To Attack Oil And Gas With Questionable Health Claims,” Steve’s piece and the report it analyzes are items every serious examiner of the fracking debate need to read and read more than once. I highly recommend both and, of course, have a few additional observations.

The report is authored by Seth Berrin Shonkoff of Berkeley, California (see video below), who also happens to be Tony Ingraffee’s pick to run the sham junk science outfit known as Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) that the Park Foundation helped set up to push out Bob Howarth’s widely panned methane studies. Steve’s articles pulls out the most damning aspects of the report, noting how it laid out every aspect of a strategy to transform the fracking miracle into a health issue by using big money from wealthy donors, together with the innocent faces of exploited little children, to sell their intolerant message.

These are people who absolutely hate natural gas, of course, because it became the solution to their perceived problem (climate change) before they could get off the ground with their own pet projects in which they had already invested mega sums of money and planning. And, they’ve got a lot invested.

Seth Shonkoff wrote his report for something called the 11th Hour Project. It is simply another name for the Schmidt Family Foundation. The Foundation is named for Eric Schmidt of Google and his wife Wendy Schmidt (from whom he’s apparently separated). He’s reportedly the 100th richest person in the world and has a $15 million penthouse in Manhattan (over $2,400 per square foot). He made that money as the CEO of Google during its boom years.

Now, Schmidt is Executive Chairman of something called Alphabet, Inc. which owns Google. Alphabet, Inc. and Google, of course, are heavily invested in the Ivanpah solar energy boondoggle and taxpayer rip-off. You don’t get special interests much bigger than Ivanpah, which got a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from you and me and other Federal taxpayers for a plant that’s likely to be closed down.

11th Hour

Eric Schmidt’s $15 million Manhattan penthouse, one of several ludicrously expensive and energy wasteful estates he and separated wife Wendy maintain in California, New York and on Nantucket Island.

The Schmidt Family Foundation is also a big-time donor to the NRDC (where Wendy Schmidt serves on the Board of Trustees) as well as the Energy Foundation, which is majorly funded by Nathaniel Simons of the dark money Sea Change Foundation. The Simons family, of course, has been profiled here repeatedly and is heavily invested in renewable energy hedge fund investments through Renaissance Technologies, LLC, which is also busy sucking off the government teat at the NY Green Bank.

It’s quite the partnership these nefarious organizations have and it’s all founded on making another mint off renewable energy at the expense of taxpayers who would subsidize one Ivanpah after another. It’s a story of astounding corporate cronyism and exploitation under the guise of “clean energy.”

Eric Schmidt is, indeed, a very connected individual. He’s a member of the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission and several other prestigious collections of corporate fat cats, the likes of which the Rockefeller family and other elitists populate. Schmidt’s foundation also has a much more direct connection in the name of one of its consultants, a fellow well known to readers of the blog; Attorney Jay Halfon, the Fractivist Rasputin who is at the core of so much of fractivism today. According the Schmidt Family Foundation 990 return for 2015, it paid Halfon $165,000 that year for “program consulting.”

11th Hour

Halfon also got $60,000 that year from the Park Foundation (major funder of PSE and, therefore, Seth Barrin Shonkoff):

11th Hour

And, then, there’s whatever he earns as General Counsel to the Sustainable Market Foundation (a Rockefeller and Park Foundation enterprise), as a director of both Earthworks and  and his work as President of the New York Public Interests Research Group Fund, Inc. (NYPIRG), not to mention whatever financial relationship he still has with the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, if any.

Yes, Halfon is the glue that connects all these pieces of the fractivist cause and he makes wonderful money playing the system to do it – enough to allow him a luxury apartment on the Upper West Side. He is the guiding force, the coordinator, the maestro, the Fractivist Rasputin. Everyone he represents has a financial interest in promoting economically unfeasible “clean energy” at the expense of taxpayers.

Seth Shonkoff is simply the guy they used to front the PSE and provide the sophist rationale and strategy for working together behind the false facade of a health threat from fracking. Jay Halfon is the real mover and shaker; on the payroll of the Park, Schmidt and Rockefeller families to create a favorable environment for more Ivanpahs.

That’s the backstory with Steve Everley’s outstanding article. Read it and understand how these people connive, distort and manipulate in pursuit of their very special interests. Also, for a good laugh, there’s this from Shonkoff’s 2012 report (emphasis added):

Many government officials, including those responsible for health assessment regulation, are currently ineffective due to election concerns over alienating the oil and gas industry; especially when they serve in states whose economies rely heavily on oil and gas extraction. For example, New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo is politically precluded from alienating the oil and gas industry if he has aspirations of one day running for president.

Like so much of what is written by fractivists, the truth, of course, is exactly the opposite. Governor Corruptocrat Cuomo chose to kill fracking in New York “at this time” in 2014 precisely because he hopes to run for President and knows he needs to attract radical environmentalists to his side to have any chance at a Democrat party nomination. He cast the economic hopes and prayers of the Southern Tier to the wind for that reason after his own Department of Environmental Conservation had assembled a comprehensive draft environmental impact statement demonstrating beyond any doubt that fracking was and could be done safely in New York.

This is the reality behind the fractivist cause, a collusion of financial and political special interests pretending to be a magnanimous enterprise, while operating as a gang of thieves. It’s the dark side of fractivism.

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10 thoughts on “The 11th Hour Connection: The Dark Side of Fractivism

  1. The antifracking pipeline resistance movement should have been covered by a news organization in the form of an exposes long time ago. And being way late is no excuse for not doing this now.

    The insular nature of this movement, coupled with intolerance, resistance to new information and a variety of views has produced a staggering amount of misinformation that has long been reaching the public and policy makers. The antifracking movement itself likes to criticize those who debate the realness or impact of climate change and certainly it finds fault with misinformation from ngos and think tanks reaching the public or dominating the discourse. Yet their problem and the cause for it is the exact same thing. It is never a good idea to go backwards in understanding something complex.

  2. If Seth Shonkoff thinks he invented the health angle to attack fracking in 2012, he flatters himself way too much. Stan Scobie is there to correct him, so what’s with that?

    In 2008 or 2009, when NY State was holding statewide hearings designed to give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed SGEIS regs, I testified … I believe it was in Elmira NY. I used a visual prop: at the time, there was a recall of millions of bottles of Perrier water because trace amounts of a chemical were found. This is a long time ago, and I don’t have the notes in front of me so I am recalling as best as I can. Basically, the concept was that these bottles were being recalled because the health limit was 1 part per billion and 2 or 3 parts were found.

    Significant increases in air pollution are a concomitant aspect of drilling. We know that X amount of particles are being spewed into the air we breathe by drilling (Tom, don’t even think of going there), some of which have been studied for health effects, and some which have not been studied at all. The questions are: what is going into the air, how much and how much is too much?

    The issue is twofold, and one begets the other.

    In pharma, controlled studies need to be done to determine A) safety and B) efficacy, in that order, before a drug is approved by the FDA. Controlled means that one population is given the drug, and the “control group” is given a placebo.

    Now, the pharma companies don’t just randomly select people against their will for these studies. They must recruit volunteers, explain the purpose of the trial, and obtain informed consent before exposing people to an experimental drug.

    Drugs are comprised of chemicals. When the gas industry drills, it releases chemicals into the air, exposing people to those chemicals. Unlike pharma, however, the gas industry has not obtained informed consent from the people that they are exposing.

    So what I proposed then was to subject the oil and gas industry to the same protocol as Pharma. Pick one county that gives informed, written consent to drilling, drill the hell out of it for a few years while conducting rigorous health monitoring, compare it to health monitoring in a county that is upwind with no drilling, and see what you get.

    This idea predates Shonkoff’s. It is a better, more ethical approach, because the populations being tested aren’t guniea pigs or sitting ducks, they have been briefed and have signed on.

    I guess Shonkoff ends up with the glory (for a weaker approach) because he has some letters after his name. Or it could be for the class warfare reasons you rail about, lol, and I could think of others, but I will mercifully stop here.

    • Yes. Stan scobie and someone like you speaketh and it echoes far and wide. Of course Steve everley isn’t going to dig super deep and come up with transcripts and early footage of your movement “unreceive dogma” and all the little players.

      Let’s read some crap being spread in the news. Words coming straight out of the antifracking pipeline movements mouth yet appear to be coming from some politicians.

      Stan scobie, you, ingraffea, steingraber, fox, mckibben , Bruce Ferguson , Joe Levine and others particularly the politicians along the way who gave you ample opportunity to broadcast your message along with a compliant press deserve credit. Congratulations for playing a part in the worst environmental movement of the time. With any luck the history books will eventually name you and tell the story .

      • I’ll be more impressed if you refute the specific points that I made, rather than whine about whether or not the battle was rigged.

        The playing field actually tilts your way. Notwithstanding Tom’s version of how the class war plays out in these parts, your side has the money and the resources to win the propaganda battle (assuming it is nothing but propaganda).

        • The playing field tilts my way? In what way is that so? Give a ring to your friend Angela Monti fox or over to the Sierra clubs Carl Arnold if you want and ask them when it was that they met me.

          The playing field is not titled toward the truth or the facts. The antifracking pipeline resistance movement is riddled with misinformation, created a full blown conspiracy theory on the port Ambrose lng import project, has spread mass misinformation on ferc , multiple pipeline projects and is increasingly convincing people that natrual gas is the worst fossil fuel for the environment and climate. It has created chaos and is retarding people’s ability to learn about crucial topics such as energy and the environment.


      Don’t worry. Steingraber has named some more people. Great environmental leaders like David Braun , a luminary apparently. Massive and unstoppable civil disobedience! Resolutions, wineries and more. And apparently all of this is what made a certain project fall through if one wants to believe Sandra steingrabers version of reality that is.

      A true confederacy of dunces truly. Don’t miss the methane guru and antifracking activist professor howarths tweet about this today. What a scholar , independent academic and gentleman he is eh?

      Man oh man. This epic scandal and charade just never ends.


    Natural gas has displaced coal in the northeast’s electricity generation mix tweets the eia. Meanwhile unreceive dogma is proud to have played a role in the movement fighting natrual gas for about the same length of time and no doubt unreceive dogma believes he is an environmentalist and a climate warrior? The antifracking pipeline movement is a disaster through and through. It is an epic scandal and problem.

  4. Pingback: The Pompous Patrician Faces of Fractivism Who Make It HappenNatural Gas Now

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