Free Speech Is for Us, Not You, Say Climate Cultists
Jim Willis on NGL Pipelines
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
[Editor’s Note: Free speech is the oxygen keeping alive a sickly Western Civilization but elitists and their allies among climate cultists and the left want to cancel it]
There is a very dangerous thing happening across the country. If you happen to have an opinion, a viewpoint, that’s different from the socialist left–and if you want to express that opinion in social media, via paid ads, etc., the left wants it shut down, calling it “dangerous.” You see, the socialist left can’t compete in the marketplace of free and open ideas and tolerance. Leftists are the most intolerant among us. Case in point: the group Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future (founded in 2010) promotes information about the useful role of natural gas and the pipelines that flow it–and those ads target (among others) black and Latino voters. The ads are effective, so the socialist left is attempting to shut them down–kill free speech.
We’re not “poor us” complainers, but the daily posts MDN makes on Facebook are routinely denied the right to be promoted to a wider audience by “boosting” the post–paying money to have the post appear in front of more eyeballs. The censorship of MDN and other conservative voices on socialist/leftist Facebook is heavy these days. We maintain a presence on Facebook (for now) simply because so many in our audience still use it.
Our point is that this type of censorship, this quashing of free speech, has been going on for the past few years–about halfway through the presidency of Donald Trump. The socialist, anti-free speech left rose up and now challenges the American system of fairness and justice for all. The left challenges the right of all to speak their minds, no matter what those thoughts and words are, and do so in the public square. The left has launched a direct attack on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The group Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future is backed by at least two big pipeline companies: Kinder Morgan and TC Energy. Pipeline companies have every right to make their voices heard in the marketplace–to present their views, to present evidence that what they do is good and moral and just. And yet the left wants to silence their voices.
Below is an article that’s a great example of how the left attempts to silence other voices, by spinning what the Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future does as somehow immoral and unjust and sleazy and racist because it targets the very same groups the left targets with their messages. Remember folks, the left can’t compete in a fair and open competition of ideas. Their ideas are bankrupt and don’t work. Their views don’t stand up to common sense and fairness. The only weapon they have is to use is legacy media to try and smear groups like Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future. That’s what the following does:
As climate activists hammer the natural gas industry, a group of pipeline and energy companies formed an industry group to re-brand natural gas as a “clean” energy choice and market the idea to a specific group of people in Pennsylvania and New York: Black and Latino voters.
“They want a long-term campaign to improve the opinion of natural gas, to make sure it doesn’t go the way of coal,” said Taylor Kate Brown, who reported this story for Floodlight, the nonprofit news organization that partners with local outlets to investigate the corporate and ideological interests holding back climate action. It was published in The Guardian.
Brown wrote that TC Energy and Kinder Morgan are two of the names behind the group Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future, which formed in 2020. It has a two-year PR budget of $10 million dollars.
The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple spoke with Brown about its campaign to people of color.
Kara Holsopple: Who is this group trying to reach?
Taylor Kate Brown: They are very specifically trying to reach out to liberal-leaning voters who they consider the Democratic base: young people 18 to 34, people of color, specifically Black and Latino demographics. And we know that because as part of my reporting on this part of documents shared with us via public records request by the Energy and Policy Institute that they were specifically interested in these groups and messaging to these demographic groups.
Holsopple: Why is that?
Taylor Kate Brown: In these documents, there is an indication that the natural gas industry writ large knows that they’ve done a good job messaging to Republicans, to people in states where it may be gas is more part of the economy. They were specifically looking at what messages might be really effective with people who are concerned about climate change, who are part of the Democratic base, and who live in either swing states or more liberal-leaning states where there’s been more active climate change policy.
Holsopple: So they’re placing ads on social media like Facebook and Instagram. What’s their message?
Taylor Kate Brown: Their overarching message is to tie gas to the renewable energy world, to the energy transition, to fighting climate change. And they do that by sort of tying the idea that gas can lead to emissions reductions by replacing coal with gas and then also having some renewable energy.
But the issue with this particular sort of rhetoric is that at the end of the day, gas is still a fossil fuel, and in many situations, it’s become competitive as an energy source with zero or low emissions energy.
Holsopple: Who are they featuring in their messaging? Who are the faces of this campaign?
Taylor Kate Brown: Two members of their leadership council, two former senators, Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) and Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), have both been featured in Natural Allies ads. They’ve written, sponsored content, and been quoted as a member of the Leadership Council of Natural Allies.
They have featured quotes and op-eds from what I would call more centrist Democratic messengers. John Kerry shows up there. There’s also a very specific focus on labor. There are a few labor groups that are actually associated with the group. They tend to be labor unions that are reliant on pipeline construction jobs. And there’s a lot of messaging there about jobs and affordability.
Holsopple: There was even, if I remember correctly, a Black History Month post.
Taylor Kate Brown: Yes. I will note two things about that. The Black History Month ad is talking about a woman, Alice H. Parker. She was an inventor who patented a furnace system for homes that used gas.
The sort of weird twist about this particular ad is that the image that [ad ]features, it is one that’s commonly around the Internet as Alice H. Parker, but it’s not her. A reporter at the Energy News Network actually did some digging and found out that this particular image is of a white woman who is not Alice H. Parker at all.
I spoke to Mustafa Santiago Ali, currently the vice president of environmental justice at the National Wildlife Federation. He pointed out when he looked at this ad, and before we had known that this particular photo is of a white lady, not of Alice Parker, that on the face of it, they’re recognizing the contributions of African Americans. But what they’re really trying to do is sort of make this closer tie between the Black community and natural gas. But that leaves out the historic over-effect on Black communities of pollution in general and the continuing increased climate change effects on Black communities as well.
Holsopple: What kind of pressure is the gas industry facing in the U.S. – in states like Pennsylvania and New York – that would fuel this kind of campaign?
Taylor Kate Brown: Pennsylvania is far more pro natural gas than New York is. They even indicate that in their internal documents, in part because there are a lot of gas producers in Pennsylvania and it’s a significant part of what the state is doing in terms of energy. That being said, there is definitely an active environmental movement in Pennsylvania.
One of the major pipeline cancelations in the past several years, PennEast, happened in part because of local pushback against pipelines in Pennsylvania. The governor has tried to – and I know this is an ongoing issue – make Pennsylvania a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. And just recently, the governor also vetoed a bill that would have basically stopped any Pennsylvania municipality from saying that there would be no new gas hookups in buildings going forward.
Now, this kind of bill actually passed about 20 other states between 2020 and now, in part because the gas industry was afraid of cities like New York and LA, who have said going forward after this date, we will not put any new gas hookups in buildings for heating and cooking. And that is a threat to the gas industry.
And quickly about New York, their 2019 climate law actually put emissions reductions into law. We’re seeing the effects of that now and what that actually means. The state has denied permits for a few gas plants. There have been some questions about New York also becoming the first state to ban new gas hookups on a state level. And so there’s a lot of activity in these two states, and it feels very much like a push-pull.
Holsopple: Is the industry campaign working? What kind of engagement are they getting?
Taylor Kate Brown: They think they are. According to their own documents, they polled basically both their initial pilot campaign and the campaign that happened over 2021 and 2022. They saw an increase, especially among the groups that they’re particularly interested in, which are young people and nonwhite residents, an increase in the sort of general goodwill towards gas.
In Pennsylvania, among those who saw the ads versus those who didn’t, they saw a 22% increase in being more favorable to natural gas and an 8% increase in that “It is a partner for renewables.” And even a 10% increase in people saying natural gas has a positive impact on the environment. Those numbers go up across both New York, Pennsylvania and D.C. when we’re talking about people who are 18 to 34 and who are nonwhite.
Holsopple: What did you learn by reporting this story?
Taylor Kate Brown: When people talk about fossil fuel companies doing PR campaigns, I think the one that most often comes to mind are oil majors – your Exxon, your Shell. The companies that are behind Natural Allies are companies that maybe most people haven’t heard of, but are major companies that are really tied into the infrastructure of how we get gas, both for power plants and for inside our homes. And in total, the companies that we know of that are supporting this effort made $78 billion in revenue in 2021. So these are not small companies. These are major companies, but they’re not household names.
The other thing I would say that really was illuminating to me is how much there is an effort to try to push policy in D.C., but how important states are to this group. In addition to this PR campaign, the executive director of Natural Allies has said, at least in 2021, he was speaking to utility regulators. This is sort of the idea that there are multiple places of decision-making at the state level. Legislators are important. Voters are important. But also these utility commissions that can make really consequential decisions about where we get our energy from and what kind of emissions a state can move forward with.
Taylor Kate Brown reported this story for Floodlight.
If you read through the Q&A, you couldn’t help but notice the arrogance, the condescension, the “who the hell do they think they are posting something about Black History Month?” when that supposedly is “owned” by the left.
Again, our point here is that the left is attacking free speech. They seek to silence those who disagree with them, rather than debate them. The left loses in open debates.
Editor’s Note: Jim had so many great articles today it was hard to pick just one, but I decided this was the most important of his posts because it’s about one of the absolute greatest threats facing Western civilization today, that being the continued erosion of free speech at the hands of climate cultists and leftists seeking to quash any opinions but their own. Both groups (often one and the same) are no more than useful idiots for elitists who are grifting for ever more power and wealth and have decided their time is now. That’s why the times are so dangerous, as the citizenry will never accept the outcomes the elitists have in mind. It’s a recipe for disaster, the end result of which no one can predict and could leave us all in tears.
This post appeared first on Natural Gas Now.