Rep. Lamar Smith thinks Russians are behind opposition to pipelines and fracking

Years ago I met Rep. Lamar Smith at the Texas State Capitol. He studiously avoided my attempts to talk to him about solar power. And is House Committee report on energy markets does not mention solar power even once, and wind only to sneer at it. The report does spend quite a bit of space promoting fracking.

Oh, it’s supposed to be about those horrid Russians. It builds its case otherwise around 4% of 9,097 social media posts over two years, which is about one every other day. I personally post more than that. Not a very impressive report.

Sabine Pass LNG Export
Justin Mikulka, Desmog, February 18, 2018, Safety Officials Order Partial Shutdown of Sabine Pass LNG Export Facility After Discovering 10-Year History of Leaks.

Here’s a sample from the Majority Staff Report, United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, March 1, 2018 Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media.

10/23/2016 RT @Tim_Canova: Good news: Last night, Miami-Dade officials voted unanimously to ban fracking. #ProgressForAll

What does Tim Canova’s oh-so-scurrilous tweet link to? Clark Mindock, International Business Times, 3 October 2016, Fracking Water Pollution: Miami Pushes Ban To Protect Florida Water Supply,

Citing concerns that fracking in their county could ruin the water supply, officials in Miami-Dade County, Florida, have formally proposed banning the natural gas extraction method outright.

Yeah, clearly, officials in Miami-Dade County proposing to ban fracking is something we’d only know about because of the Russians. Or that horrid Russian rag the International Business Times (IBT).

It couldn’t be because of concerns like these:

Fracking is particularly controversial in Miami-Dade County because the whole place sits on top of the Biscayne Aquifer, which supplies water to a large number of Floridians. If that water supply were polluted by any source, scientists have said, then it is likely that the aquifer would remain polluted forever. Fracking in the county would require penetrating that aquifer. If something went wrong — the chemicals injected into the ground are “trade secrets” and undisclosed by the companies — then that water supply would be at risk.

Don’t get me wrong: sure, there is evidence that Russians, in particular the Internet Research Agency (IRA) that Smith’s committee report goes on about, have tried to influence all sorts of things via social media. But this report is a transparent attempt to use a tiny bunch of tweets to tar the huge number of Americans who have very legitimate concerns about fracking destroying their water supplies, pipelines taking their land, and leaks and explosions risking their children, their homes, and their way of life.

However, Smith’s committee report does contain two useful footnotes, linking to a report in The Hill of a Polish deal for U.S. LNG and a Reuters story on a Lithuanian deal.

Both are for LNG exported from Sabine Pass in Loiusiana. That’s right, the same Sabine Pass LNG operation that a few weeks ago got shut down because of a history of leaks. So bad even the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) sent a Corrective Action Order saying:

“To date, Sabine has been unable to correct the long-standing safety concerns described above involving the affected tanks, cannot validate the exact source or amount of the LNG that may have leaked into the annulus of the affected tanks, and cannot identify the circumstances that allowed the LNG to escape containment in the first place.”

So, Rep. Smith, with these kinds of hazardous leaking fossil fuel friends, you think the Russians are the problem?

Neither news story about LNG export says where Sabine Pass gets the gas. Cheniere tries to avoid that subject in its Sabine Pass web page. But that page does refer to the Creole Pass pipeline, and Cheniere’s web page on that pipeline says:

“of which 94 miles was completed in June 2008, is currently interconnected with the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corporation (Transco), Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, Florida Gas Transmission Company, Bridgeline Holdings, L.P., Texas Eastern Gas Transmission (TETCO), and Trunkline Gas Company (Trunkline).”

  • NGPL is jointly owned by Kinder Morgan, Inc. and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P.
  • Transco we know ships gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.
  • Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline

    “is an approximately 11,800-mile pipeline system that transports natural gas from Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico and south Texas to the northeast section of the United States, including New York City and Boston.”

    Or does TGP ship gas in the other direction now?

  • FGT ships to Florida.
  • Bloomberg says:

    “As of August 5, 2005, Bridgeline Holdings, L.P. operates as a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation.”

  • TETCO is Spectra Energy, now owned by Enbridge.
  • Trunkline is owned by Energy Transfer

Sure, with that kind of interconnection, Cheniere could get its gas from anywhere. Which is what Sabal Trail always said, due to this and other such interconnections.

So various people in various places in the U.S. get their aquifers trashed and their lands taken and everything else risked for profit by private company Cheniere, pushed by Lamar Smith’s committee.

Does this seem right to you?

Could it be that alleged representatives who publish such drivel are more of a problem?


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