Despite the breadth of the current political divide, it appears that there is at least one thing that all politicians can agree upon: energy sector cronyism. The only real dispute is over the preferred beneficiaries.......
A recent report published by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, called "Russia's Ties to U.S. Environmentalist Groups," lays out how Putin cronies bundled millions for radical left-wing environmental groups determined to stop oil and natural gas development in the United States. As the report reads, "evidence shows that a complex network of offshore firms has intimate ties to the Kremlin and connections to U.S. based anti-fracking and anti-oil lobbies."
The fracking boom has been great for American consumers and the economy. It is also one of the main factors behind the fact that the United States' level of emissions of carbon dioxide per capita is at its lowest since 1959. That should be cause for celebration here, but not in Russia, as the country's own oil-driven economy is suffering from cheap natural gas competition. The millions funneled into domestic environmental groups represent a roundabout subsidy to Russia's own oil industry insofar as the money leads to increased resistance—through lawsuits and the spreading of misinformation aimed at producing a public groundswell calling for tighter regulations—to the oil and gas exploration of its U.S. competitors.
But it doesn't just represent government cronyism in the Russian energy market; it also represents interference in our own. Unfortunately, U.S. politicians have given up the moral high ground needed to credibly criticize Putin by so often meddling in their own energy market.