The Pompous Patrician Faces of Fractivism Who Make It Happen

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


It’s amazing how few few people are behind fractivism, funding it and pulling the strings. They’re trust-funders and patricians of the aristocratic class.

There are no special interests like those of patricians — the gentry ruling class. They fund virtually all of fractivism, not to mention other radical chic causes. They’re sort of people who mingle only among themselves, have little or no knowledge of middle class habits or values and even less desire to know. They know next to nothing about how things are made or produced in the real world or what managing the cash flow of a business or household is all about. Their world is a thoroughly insular one, despite their supposed worldliness and jet-setting lifestyles. They imagine themselves as nobles obliged to manage the masses about whom they understand nothing and want nothing to do with other than to be separate and apart.

These are the pompous patrician faces of fractivism and there are surprisingly few of them, despite their out-sized influence.

The picture I’ve painted is hardly one most of us don’t grasp at some level. History is comprised of many rebellions against patricians, which is why so many of them feign a social conscience today, but the interesting thing is how few of them saw it coming at the time. King George was thought of as a progressive young monarch until we Americans rose up in defiance and rejection of his patronizing attitude toward his most important colony. Louis XVI, too, was thought to be ahead of the game—a dictionary example of noblesse oblige in some quarters—until he lost his head to the Reign of Terror.

What made America different was not that it didn’t possess patricians, but that ours was a society where they routinely interacted with other classes. We now seem to be losing that, drifting into two complete different worlds with not only different cultures and values, but one where patricians only interact with themselves and have lost all touch with the middle class that builds things, makes things and is the foundation of civil society as we have known it heretofore. Charles Murray has written about certain aspects of it and a recent article at The American Interest delved into others, concluding that talking to each other was the only real solution.

The sad part, from the standpoint of rural folks like myself who want to see natural gas development in dying areas such as Upstate New York, is simply this; we tried that and were met with contempt and dismissal.

Talk to Dan Fitzsimmons about what happened when he took a delegation of upstaters to meet with the Park Foundation, the second and third-generation patricians who inherited their wealth, imagine themselves as moral superiors, live in gas-heated homes and spend tens of millions fighting natural gas development in Upstate New York and elsewhere. Dan thought talking might help, so he and other representatives of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York journeyed to Ithaca where Park family members reside (and the Park Foundation now has brand new gas heated offices in a building constructed subsequent to the meeting) to converse.

It wasn’t a good meeting. After relaying to the Park Foundation how important natural gas development was to Upstate New York farmers, landowners and communities of ordinary New Yorkers and asking the Foundation to temper its anti-gas position, the delegation of commoners was treated to pure condescension. They were informed the impacts they had described on the livelihoods of their loved ones, neighbors and communities were simply unfortunate “collateral damage” necessitated by the the Park patrician ideology; their need to leading lights of environmentalism among their gentry class peers.

Perhaps, if Dan and company had studied up on Adelaide Park Gomer a bit more they wouldn’t have wasted their time, but the instinct to talk it out was an honest one worthy of much applause. What was unfortunate was total lack of empathy on the part of the Park Foundation for their Upstate New York neighbors, their inability to grasp their own stunning hypocrisy and their misplaced values. They are, in a word, snobs, and their pomposity is evident in their faces.

They’re not the only ones, though. There are a handful of others and together they are the faces behind fractivism; the very few who fund almost all of it. Here are some the biggest gentry class funders of fractivism:


Adelaide Park Gomer — It’s not that hard to imagine her saying “Let them eat cake” after her foundation told Upstate New Yorkers their lack of futures was just unavoidable “collateral damage” of its guilt-assuaging, resume-enhancing trendy policies. Donates to EarthJustice, Earthworks, the Sustainable Markets Foundation, Josh Fox, Frack Action, the Delaware Riverkeeper, the Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Environmental Integrity Project, Tony Ingraffea’s PSEHE, RFK, Jr.’s Waterkeeper network, Food & Water Watch, the Southwest PA Environmental Health Project and the FrackTracker Alliance.

Then, there is Larry Rockefeller, great-grandson of John D. and his sister Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky. The Rockefeller family, of course, has billions to throw at fractivist causes through the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers and the Sustainable Markets Foundation. Their crusade is to make a wilderness of places they wish to have for second homes and they are the primary source of funding for and everything Bill McKibben does, not to mention the #ExxonKnew campaign and the La Jolla Junta. They are also the force behind the Open Space Institute (whence Joe Martens came and went), the NRDC and the Catskill Mountainkeeper, with interlocking board members. The family tree is a wreath, so to speak.

Larry Rockefeller and wife Wendy at the 25th Anniversary Gala of the Rainforest Alliance with Martha Stewart. This was seven years after Martha completed her prison term and there’s no better way to restore one’s reputation among elite company, of course, than to jump on to the environmental bandwagon.

There is also Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira Heinz Kerry, of course, so elite that her full name has seven parts, two more than the number of multi-mullion dollar homes she lives in from time to time. Born to wealth and married to more, she is the original queen of the Tides Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. The Tides Foundation is a money-laundering foundation through which others can send money to fractivist and other causes without being publicly connected.

The Heinz Endowments funds everything from radical activists at the Clean Air Council to junk science at the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. It appears to be behind many fractivist lawsuits and frequently allies with the William Penn Foundation in funding all things fractivist such as StateImpactPA. It’s also behind Virginia Organizing.

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the super-wealthy heiress who has used the Heinz Endowments to attack every aspect of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania — where it all started. She has lived an elegant lifestyle in a collection of homes worth over $30 million and scattered across the U.S. while bemoaning global greenhouse gas emissions that natural gas has done more to reduce than anything else.

Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the Google additions to the super-wealthy class of aristocrats are no slouches in funding fractivism either. They are big champions of the NRDC and also hogs at the trough of Federal subsidies used to fund the Ivanpah boondoggle. They finance numerous fractivist causes, from the Williamsport area Responsible Drilling Alliance to the 11th Hour Project. They also throw a lot of money at Jay Halfon, the Fractivist Rasputin who coordinates activities between the Park Foundation, the Rockefeller, trial lawyers, PIRG groups, and Earthworks, to mention a few.


Eric and Wendy Schmidt

And, let’s not forget the Haas family of the William Penn Foundation; funders of the DRBC, the Delaware Riverekeeper, PennFuture, the Clean Air Council, StateImpactPA, NJ Spotlight, the Sierra Club, Carol Collier (former DRBC Executive Director through her current job at the Academy of Natural Sciences), the NRDC gang and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here’s a photo of family heir Leonard Haas, an artist residing in a multi-million dollar apartment in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. Leonard is Vice-Chair of the Foundation Board off Directors and one of only six members of the corporation.


Leonard Haas, Vice-Chair of the William Penn Foundation

Yes, this is one of the guys deciding whether you get to make a living in the Upper Delaware, whether you get access to inexpensive clean natural gas if you live in New Jersey, whether you get a job on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project and what you read about gas drilling and natural gas.

Let’s not forget Nat Simons, either. He and his wife fund the Sea Change Foundation and, through it, the Energy Foundation which attacks natural gas and promotes solar energy in which he and his father are major investors; using, among other sources, dark money from funneled through mysterious off-shore accounts connected to Russians. He’s big NRDC fan, too.


Nat Simons — profiled in 2014 as one of the world’s top eco-innovators, he’s actually been spending his money and maybe some Russian money in attacking oil and gas and promoting his (and his father’s) special interest solar investments.

Finally, there’s Susan Wallace, wife of R. Bruce Wallace, the artist grandson of former Vice-President Henry Wallace. She runs the Woodtiger Fund, which broke off from the other Wallace fractivist funding foundations, to fund the Delaware Riverkeeper big-time and, apparently, pay for some of those lawsuits Jordan Yeager, the radical attorney, promulgates in its name. She’s literally “bat-crazy” and has plenty of money with which to signal her virtues. Maya van Rossum clearly has her wrapped around d her finger.


Susan Wallace

These are the pompous patrician faces of fractivism; the people who maker it happen. They provide the money. They manipulate the ideologues to serve their and are willingly manipulated by the ideologues in return to suit the demands of their special interests in investments, land, power and building reputations as virtuous among the other members of the gentry class with whom only they associate. It is impossible to reach them, as they don’t want to be reached. There is only one course and that is to beat them in the arena of public policy. Landowners and those who care about the welfare of rural areas and the middles class that resides there must fight with our voices and our votes.

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19 thoughts on “The Pompous Patrician Faces of Fractivism Who Make It Happen

  1. None of those in the photos look as though they ever milked a cow or shoveled farm manure, although they shovel plenty of other versions of manure.

  2. Anosognosia

    The arrogance of the entitled,
    whether noble or impoverished,
    knows no restraint
    nor sees its own reflection.

    Footnote: Anosognosia: where a disability or disease prevents the person with it from knowing that they have it.

    Sounds like the Fractivists.

    • Vera, how’s that yurt coming along? Speaking of manure, how come you are not out there supporting carbon neutral anaerobic digesters which could produce 2 MW/day on 2 acres 24/7/365 as opposed to a solar panel farm on 8 acres which takes up valuable agricultural land/forests and generates only 1 measly MW/day provided the sun is shining. Talk about one being concerned about the environment, you are way out of line here. Plus AD’s can produce pipeline quality gas and supplement conventional gas pipelines (which you and your ilk oppose). With so many communities in NY and Pa trying to reach a goal of zero waste, even with their best intentions wisely trying turn their organic wastes (food, invasive species, excrement) into something green and beneficial, they are prevented from doing so because your ilk stands in the way of new pipelines.

      • Also AD’s help the farmers and the rural communities you “supposedly” care about control non point source pollution which can affect surface waters and aquifers while generating revenue and/or offset operating costs. Until you look into acting like a true conservationist, the poop you spew is not worthy of being in a digester.

  3. Yeah Vera lets not forget those 50×120 lot owners and trailer park tenants such as yourself. If you took all the landowners in drilled areas with 1+- acres that oppose drilling you would be able to fit them in a porta-potty and the only thing they would be able to complain about is the cold seat

    • See Ken Kemp’s comment above about the category, which I’m pretty confident that we can include you in Mr. Furman, of carpetbaggers to counties such as mine who have never loaded a honey wagon in their life.

  4. Tyranny by a minority. Pretty ugly. One thing is for sure, the influence runs deep because you cannot get reporters to tell the truth about what’s going on with this antifracking pipeline resistance movement and I have tried.

  5. What have rich conservatives done to help natural gas? Their reward for substantial contributions to the Trump campaign (coal company CEO Robert Murray gave $1,000,000 to the Inauguration Fund) have been the three worst possible energy cabinet secretaries. Talk about a return on investment.

    When Zinke, Perry and Pruitt try to delay the inevitable death of coal, they delay and decrease the demand for gas. Delaying gas just gives the anti’s more time to try to implement their flawed plans for 100% renewables. How is this different from what all the smiling faces in the article are trying to do?

  6. Natural gas has helped Heinz/Kerry get rich. Her deceased first husband’s family business uses a lot of natural gas to cook those pickles and ketchup.

  7. Is it possible for these anti-fracking people to compile a list of the ways they use oil, gas and coal? Might they also detail their use of solar and wind energy?

    Is any part of their lives untouched by fossil fuels? Do they believe their lives would improve if they were able to end their use of fossil fuels?

    Perhaps they might also analyze the links between their wealth and the availability of oil, gas and coal.

    Would any of them write a well-researched report on the economics of poverty?

    Are any of them funding brilliant students of science and engineering who are pursuing alternative energy studies?

    What would John D Rockefeller say to his descendants?

    • If they are eating, sleeping, traveling by any means (including walking) and living in any kind of structure, they are making use of many items made possible by fossil fuels and none made possible solely by solar, wind, wave or any other conceivable non-fossil fuel.

  8. It seems that the rich activist who support anti-fracturing and oppose fossil fuels, in general, need to be reminded that that there is a direct correlation between wealth and energy consumption. The wealth patricians and wealthy Hollywood types are wealthy due to the high energy requirements that resulted in their wealth. Those people all have very large energy footprints, but want to deny even basic energy to those less affluent members of society from which their wealth emanated.

  9. Pingback: Google Serving As NRDC Outlet to Promote Fracking FalsehoodsNatural Gas Now

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