Carpetbagging Earthworks Uses Anti-Growth Dirty Tricks on Ohio Counties

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Earthworks, the anti-growth tool of a handful of rich gentry class foundations, is embarked on an astroturfed campaign of dirty tricks aimed at Ohio.

We’ve covered some of what’s happening in three counties in Ohio as small network of fractivist types attempts to throw up obstacles to Cabot Oil & Gas doing natural gas development there. A half-dozen serial protesters have been hard at work pretending they represent the concerns of residents in Ashland, Holmes and Richland Counties.

These protesters are now being aided and orchestrated by a carpetbagging outfit called Earthworks that is paid by some of the wealthiest people on earth to create mischief for American oil and gas development wherever the opportunity arises. The latter have very special interests threatened by such development, including “clean energy” scams and deals they’ve made with other countries, including China.

Jackie Stewart, over at Energy In Depth, posted a great article yesterday detailing how Earthworks is attempting to orchestrate Ohio protests use fake landowner coalitions as fronts. Here a few excerpts:

EID reported last month that fringe environmental extremists are now using fake landowner coalitions to try to bolster efforts to ban fracking and stop pipeline development in Ohio. And even though these front groups are bragging about parachuting in Earthworks operatives, and plan to hold a so-called “leasing forum” headlined by none other than the “Moonbeam Congressman” and current gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, Ohioans are already proving they are wise to their antics by setting the record straight and continuing to demonstrate that the people who actually live and work here aren’t buying what activists are selling — regardless of how much money and influence out-of-state and out-of-touch groups try to impose on the Buckeye State.

Elaine Tanner, and the Oberlin-based Friends for Environmental Justice announced that it has enlisted the help of Earthworks, one of the most aggressive national “ban fracking” groups, boasting that they plan to again parachute an Earthworks operative into Ohio to campaign and fearmonger local communities through their notorius misuse of FLIR cameras, this time focusing on orphaned and abandoned shallow wells…

It’s also ironic that Friends for Environmental Justice would use the issue of orphaned and abandoned wells as an excuse to parachute in Earthworks and fear monger local communities at the exact same time that the Toledo Blade reports that the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and the Ohio Environmental Council have teamed up to cap idled and abandoned wells. That’s right — industry and a key mainstream environmental group are solidly behind bipartisan legislation dedicated specifically to address this issue.

But this is certainly not the first time that Earthworks has been out of touch in Ohio. Recall that just last year, Earthworks staffer Ethan Buckner said to a “huge” crowd of only 15 in Marietta, “I’m from Oakland, California and happy to be here.” While out-of-state Earthworks operatives may be happy to be in Ohio — using fossil fuels to travel as far as 2,500 miles from places like California — local residents have had about enough of them.

…it’s taken only a few weeks to prove that our recent blog post headlined “Heads-Up to Ohio Landowners: Beware of Fake Coalitions” has in fact proven to be wholly accurate. As a reminder, these fake groups have no real intention to help landowners navigate leasing questions. They want to ban all oil and gas development, period.

Read the whole story, but note how Earthworks is always in the background. Local fractivists, of course, will claim they’re not manipulated, that they asked for the help and no one tells them what to think. Good community organizers, though, know useful idiots when they see them and depend on them rationalizing their connections to those who indirectly steer their efforts through funding of the organizers. That’s how it works. If you doubt me, read Rules for Radicals. I have and it’s the playbook for all of fractivism. Read it and you can anticipate their every move.


The Rockefeller agent in Ohio?

Earthworks is a Rules for Radicals functionary group. Its board includes Attorney Jay Halfon, who we refer to as the Fractivist Rasputin (one of our most important posts). You cannot appreciate what Earthworks is doing in Ohio unless you know who Jay Halfon represents; trial lawyers and the Rockefeller family. The Rockefeller family provides the cash and the trial lawyers happily stir things up in hope of making things rain lawsuits. It works like this:


Jay Halfon, the Fractivist Rasputin, and his connections

It is, in that regard, probably no accident Elaine Tanner is involved as one of the “dirty half-dozen” stir things up in three Ohio counties even though she also claims to live in Kentucky. She’s “the Administrator of the Ohio/Kentucky Friends of Water Ohio” according to this Facebook post. Follow the link in that post to an “About” page and we learn it’s all about a lawsuit settlement, so it appears Ms. Tanner also has a trial lawyer connection.

The cash from the Rockefeller family goes through several foundations to groups such as Earthworks, and through the Sustainable Markets Foundation, to smaller unincorporated fractivist groups who borrow its tax-exemption. Here are the groups from which Earthworks gets its funding:

  • Colcom Foundation (major fractivist funder)
  • Fidelity Charitable (a money washing foundation that obscures sources of funding)
  • Heinz Endowments (major fractivist funder)
  • Impact Assets
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (major fractivist funder)
  • Normandie Foundation
  • Overbrook Foundation
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund (major fractivist funder)
  • Rockefeller Family & Associates (major fractivist funder)
  • Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (major fractivist funder)
  • Tiffany & Co. Foundation
  • Threshold Foundation (created through Tides)
  • Tides Foundation (a money washing foundation that obscures sources of funding)
  • True North Foundation
  • Wallace Genetic Foundation (major fractivist funder)
  • Wilberforce Foundation
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (major fractivist funder)

These are the real forces behind Earthworks and the thoroughly choreographed fake coalition activities in Ashland, Holmes and Richland Counties. It looks more fake by the minute, doesn’t it?


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4 thoughts on “Carpetbagging Earthworks Uses Anti-Growth Dirty Tricks on Ohio Counties

  1. Tom , Cabot and you must be rather threatened to write these twisted-truth articles about Ohio and
    how folks are striving to protect themselves from the likes of 661 , almost 666 (Mark of the Beast) , DEP Violations Leader in Pa. Cabot Oil and Gas….

    Talk about “obscuring sources of funding) , Tom,
    when will you reveal and be transparent about your funding?
    You must have something to hide….??

    I applaud the Ohioans , who are more informed and willing to stand up to invading Polluters like the Gas Industry and
    can see through their false fronts.

    Of course, your name-calling, like Rasputin Halfon,
    only shows how weak your position is.

    • Now, Vera, you know very well I don’t hide the fact I do work for the industry. It’s right there on my “About” page and has been from the beginning. I also do work for municipalities, community associations, developers, non-profits, various businesses and individuals. I’ve done a great deal of zoning work and many market feasibility studies, for example. I’d even represent you if you had a matter that didn’t conflict with my other clients’ interests, so keep me in mind if you get into a zoning conflict or something.

  2. Your article is lacking in facts and high on the bully-meter. The fact that folks are willing to come from all over to aid those in need of support against corporate $$ that bulldozes over homeowners, proves how valuable our “fractivists” are to this cause. Educating the public rather than being fed lies may save communities from damage they never expected. Damage that’s becoming more and more prevalent as frackers prove repeatedly how damaging the fracking process is to the environment and the health of people living in these communities.

    • When someone refers to the entire extraction process as “fracking” it shows they are very uneducated on the process.

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