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January 9, 2017

Willing Tools of Russian Propaganda in the Denton Fracking Ban Debate

 
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One of the tidbits contained in the just-released intelligence report about Russian interference in the US election is a section on other Russian propaganda activities, such as Russia’s propagandizing against fracking in the US.

The report says:

RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.

This hit close to home for me. In 2014, when my nearby city of Denton was voting on a ban against fracking within city limits, I got very involved. Two of the most vocal and ubiquitous leaders of the fracking ban were UNT professor Adam Briggle and a truly unhinged Twitter activist who goes by the name @TXSharon.

Both Briggle and @TXSharon appeared in interviews on RT regarding the Denton fracking ban. These interviews were used to promote the ban and to give credibility to these otherwise non-credible activists. Here’s Briggle on RT, and here is @TXSharon on RT.

Of course, the story of the Denton fracking ban is fairly well-known. Despite efforts by IPI and many others, it passed on the strength of voting by college students and professors, but was overturned by the Texas legislature before it even had a chance to lose in court. And the city of Denton eventually overturned it.

We said at the time that these activists were willingly allowing themselves to be used as tools of Russia in its attempts to discourage fracking in the US, and we were right.




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