Phony Grass Roots Anti-Fracking Campaigns Proliferate

anti-fracking campaigns - Tom Shepstone Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


So much of the anti-fracking campaign is phony, it’s often difficult to choose what to expose first. Fractivism’s funders work hard to fake grass roots campaigns.

A good friend who happens to be a fervid natural gas supporter and earns not a dime from it, the epitome of what we might call a grass roots advocate, contacted me recently regarding some fascinating advertisements he noticed popping up all over Craigslist. They come with various tags, but all do the same thing. They solicit full-time workers to “join the nation’s largest, most effective grassroots organization active on water, energy and environmental health protection issues” – to fight fracking for $10-14 per hour or thereabouts. It’s astroturf on steroids.

Anti-Fracking Campaigns Hiring on Craigslist

Here is what you find when you search for “fracking” under “non-profit sector” jobs on Craigslist in Pennsylvania:

anti-fracking campaigns

Here is what you find when you search “fracking” under “jobs” in New York:

anti-fracking campaigns

Here’s Maryland:

anti-fracking campaigns Maryland

Here’s Caiifornia:

anti-fracking campaigns CA

And, finally, here is Colorado:

anti-fracking campaigns Colorado

Anti-Fracking Campaigns Exploit Students and Everything Else

The advertisements all say more or less the same thing. Here are some the come-ons used in New York:

New York is ready to put an immediate ban on Hydro-Fracking so that we can start to promote a clean healthy future through renewable energy. We are currently looking for individuals to help us spread the word about the enormous threats posed to the environment from Hydro-Fracking and prevent it from ever coming to New York State!

Monday- Friday 2:00pm-10:00pm
Syracuse, NY

Travel to communities in Central New York in order build strong grassroots support for a ban on Hydro-fracking


$400-$600/week, plus benefits. Health insurance, paid holidays, sick days, and vacation.

The message in Colorado where fractivists are looking for managers as well as canvassers is similar:

Run a campaign to stop Fracking in Colorado as a Canvass Director with the Fund for the Public Interest!
Make a difference on issues you care about
Start your career with Non- Profits/Organizing, Activism
Meet and work with great people
Salaried positions with benefits package including health care coverage.
The Fund for the Public Interest is seeking smart, motivated, action-oriented college graduates to start as an Assistant Canvass Director. In our Boulder office, we are working on campaigns with Environment Colorado and COPIRG. 
As the Assistant Director you help to run the grassroots campaign office. You and the other directors are responsible for hiring, training, and managing a staff of up to 40 canvassers, who work full-time to educate the public, sign-up members, build visibility, raise money, and put grassroots pressure on decision makers.

Clean Water Action sponsors the Pennsylvania ads which ask students and others to:

Join the nation’s largest, most effective grassroots organization active on water, energy and environmental health protection issues.

Are You:
Passionate about protecting the environment?
Upset that big corporate polluters are getting a free pass to contaminate our waterways?
Excited to talk to anyone and everyone about the issues that you care about?

Then this is the job for you!

Clean Water Action is looking for motivated, energetic, environmentally and politically minded individuals to work on our full time canvassing staff. This is your opportunity to effectively mobilize communities to win campaigns and protect our health and environment! Clean Water Action is hiring passionate environmentalists to work with our organization as full time community organizers & fundraisers. As a part of our team of motivated canvassers, you will learn to build grassroots power in order to hold politicians accountable for their environmental voting records, protect our waterways, and fight fracking!

Hours are Monday through Friday from 1:45pm until 10pm.

We offer paid training, salary is $10-13.80 plus benefits & bonus. Rapid advancement opportunities in the organization are available.

Clean Water Action also offers this picture of two talentless, but easily recognizable, performers who live off the wealth of John Lennon in their natural gas heated luxury apartments in Manhattan. They were in Dimock, at Ray Kemble’s junkyard, having arrived in two Mercedes vehicles to show how much they empathized with Ray, who has his own special brand of schtick intended to disprove what the EPA found; that the water was safe. Ray offers up jugs of iron colored water (easily obtained from any water well if it isn’t used regularly) in his attempts to perpetuate a myth and pursue a lawsuit.

The California solicitations say:

We need to ban fracking in California — to protect our water, coast, and the rest of California. Oil companies want to use millions of gallons of our water and lace it with toxic chemicals so they can frack for gas from San Jose to L.A. And to make matters worse, gas and oil companies have already started fracking off our coast in both state and federal waters. Help Environment California keep our environment safe from the oil industry!

The Funding of Anti-Fracking Campaigns

The more one examines these ads, the clearer the picture becomes. We see, for example, that Environment America is involved in several of them through its state chapters. So are Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action, the Fund for the Public Interest, PIRG groups and something called Democracy Resources. The involvement of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CO-PIRG) is certainly no surprise, for example. PIRGs are self-perpetuating entities created and funded for the purpose of generating business for trial lawyers. They view fracking as a future source of income and are laying the foundation to exploit it.

Democracy Resources is a canvassers and protestors for hire business. Here’s their self-description (emphasis added):

A family run business for the last 15 years, we strive in each campaign to uphold the values that have made us the national leader in ballot measure qualification and direct voter contact. Our mission is to use dynamic and innovative grassroots strategies to preserve the environment, stand up for basic civil rights and defend working families.

Because the staff of Democracy Resources are hourly employees and never paid a per-signature bounty, we are able to offer you a large experienced field team that can be in place almost overnight. An army dedicated not only to achieving ballot access quickly and affordably, but able to help win the election and build a longer term movement.

We’re proud of our unique business model and believe that along with more reliable and consistent results for our clients, it creates a more fair and ethical environment which allows our staff to thrive. At Democracy Resources, our staff is our family. And we’re a family that will be proud to help your good ideas become sound public policy.

Sickening, isn’t it? Others have stronger opinions about this outfit, which has been evidently been hired one of the others or an ally..

But, what about the other four groups? Well, Environment America, as we have noted here before, is funded to the tune of $2 million per year by the Sea Change and Energy Foundations (which are, for all practical purposes, the same entity), as well as the Park Foundation ($50,000 this year to “Relaunch the Clean Water Network” which was originally a NRDC initiative). Clean Water Action is also funded by the Energy Foundation and the Park Foundation, plus the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation (a Rockefeller outfit lead by the President of the Open Space Institute) and the William Penn Foundation, the last two also being funders of the Delaware Riverkeeper. The Fund for the Public Interest is a partner of Environment America and US PIRG. Food & Water Watch is majorly funded by the Park Foundation.

They’re all the same extremely wealthy people, in other words, doing the same thing; funding phony grass roots anti-fracking campaigns. That’s their definition of democracy and it’s fake to the core.

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8 thoughts on “Phony Grass Roots Anti-Fracking Campaigns Proliferate

  1. There is nothing grassroots about the anti fractivist. You should have included the sting video Tom in California where artist against fracking were looking to get a nine million dollar payday under the radar from a rich phony Arab sheik.

  2. Lets face it the entire frackivist thing is either highly paid anti capitalists dojng a very capitalist thing Exploting something for money or you have Putins useful idiots . The climate change falisce movemwnt is the same animal

  3. I’ve often wondered why Cliff is so obsessed with you, Tom, following your posts religiously. Can’t help but wonder who is funding him.

  4. I thought the photo of the little girl on the respirator looked familiar. Sure enough, it is of Sarah Murnaghan, the ten year old Pennsylvania girl with cystic fibrosis who was initially denied a lung transplant. They probably figured no one in Colorado would pick up on it and thought they could get away with making it appear to be the result of fracking.

  5. Great article. Here are two Craigslist links that are now expired that were put out by Citizen Action and NYPIRG – The second one was entitled “HELP SAVE THE PLANET THIS YEAR FOR YOUR SUMMER JOB!! And here is NYPIRG’s still running ad – Anyone who actually believes these NGO’s are not a group of capitalists who have found a way to make a lot of money by doing essentially nothing, may be interested in a bridge I have for sale in the Arizona desert. Here’s a Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin spreadsheet detailing Park’s money laundering –

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