A group of mainstream enviros are protesting a State Senator in Pennsylvania for helping to pass zoning ordinances that forbid regulation of natural gas drilling. In a press release, the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Penn Environment, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Conservation Voters announced:
“State lawmakers approved last week’s legislation (HB 1950) that overturns local zoning ordinances and forces townships to allow gas operations in residential and all other parts of the municipality. Sen. Solobay represented one of five Democratic senators supporting the legislation. (Senators) McIlhinney and Erickson had publicly voiced their opposition to overturning local zoning rights, but then reversed their stand in voting for final passage of the law.”
There is more behind the scenes than it would appear. The energy industry has been astroturfing a movement to get the zoning rules changed for quite a while. Funded by initial grants from such genial supporters of democracy as BP, Occidental Petroleum, Chevron, Halliburton, etc, one powerful group is called Energy in Depth; in spite of its list of high donors, it still calls itself a “local”, close-to-home organization with a staff of just 12 native Pennsylvanians representing a consortium of “small, domestic energy producers”. According to an article in Truthout, however,
“Some of the “Meet the Team” pages on these local initiatives neglect to mention the stake the staff might have in the expansion of fracking. For example, the campaign manager of the EID Northeast Marcellus Initiative owns a planning and market research consulting business that works with communities on zoning ordinances. Some citizens have been attempting to regulate fracking through zoning or other local democracy, while industry groups have been attempting to limit local zoning or other regulations as well as federal regulations of the drilling practice.” But the transparent interest in altering municipal zoning to cater to corporate capital is nothing new in itself; it is simply the place where things start to get interesting.
After the now-notorious Oil & Gas meeting earlier this year, when two different gas company officials declared that counterinsurgency and psy ops tactics were being used to gain the upper hand on civilian dissenters, EID spokesperson Chris Tucker attempted to cover up the admissions by calling them “jokes”. After all, EID is payed for in large part by Anadarko Petroleum, whose external affairs manager had litterally suggested that all gas company employees download FM 3-24, the Army’s counterinsurgency field manual. As for the guy who spoke about psy-ops, saying, “We have several former psy ops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments,” he is from Range Resources, which shells out thousands of dollars in campaign conributions every year to none other than Tim Solobay, a Democrat who cheerled the zoning rules from the start.
Counterinsurgency sounds like something that goes on with snipers on rooftops and black ops raids against terrorist strongholds, but it is much deeper than that. The FM 3-24 declares that counterinsurgency operations includes nongovernmental organizations, international financial organizations, and multinational partners (like the energy industry). The idea is, at the bottom level, to subjugate people to a point where they are willing to be ruled. The domination of energy companies throughout the political process, right down to the zoning permits and even including the collaboration between private security contractors and the Department of Homeland Security, which is referenced in Greenscare 2.0, is textbook counterinsurgency, and it’s steam rolling over a grassroots environmental movement.