How the Heartland Institute Deceived Me with Underhand Tactics

PolluterWatch: Greenpeace Investigates Heartland Institute Leaked Documents -- click to see investigation and ongoing updates.

4 a.m. Bali, December 2007, the first Tuesday of the two-week United Nations climate talks. My phone rings, waking me up. Blearily, and a little crossly, I answer it. +

Chesapeake Energy

Image Caption: 

+

Address: 

Corporate Headquarters: 6100 North Western Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118

Evidence: 

Gas fracking is known to have negative impacts on both air and water quality in surrounding communities. According to the EPA, fracking wastewater contains radioactive materials, metals, total dissolved solids, as well as whatever toxic additives have been used in the fracking fluid. There are currently no national standards that regulate proper disposal of fracking wastewater. 

Air pollutants from the fracking process include methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other substances classified by the EPA as Hazardous Air Pollutants. Because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, studies have shown that natural gas recovered from shale formations has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than coal. 

Chesapeake has been involved with numerous allegations of health and safety violations relating to their gas fracking operations. During 2011 Chesapeake was accused of 141 violations in Pennsylvania alone.  One of the most significant events occurred in August 2011, when a well blowout in Bradford County, Pennsylvania released large quantities of fracking fluid into nearby farmland and waterways.  The fracking fluid contained numerous toxic chemicals that contaminated nearby waterways.  Despite this and other similar events, Chesapeake claims that, “Examples of our environmental sensitivity abound.”

As a result of such environmental violations, Chesapeake has been fined several times by the state of Pennsylvania.  In February 2012, Chesapeake was fined $565,000 for previous violations that resulted in contamination of local waterways. In May of 2011, Chesapeake was fined $1.09 million. 

The company is also under a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice, following numerous alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in West Virginia. 

Chesapeake Energy is involved in a number of lawsuits throughout the country, relating to various financial and environmental issues. Allegations include insider trading, underpayment of royalties, and property damages, to name a few.  One of the largest lawsuits began in 2009, when a putative class action suit was brought against Chesapeake in a New York US District Court. Plaintiffs have claimed damages from misinformation regarding the company’s July 2008 common stock offering, and the case has since been relocated to Oklahoma.  

In 2008, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon’s compensation package totaled $112.5 million, making him the year’s highest paid CEO in the country.  That same year, company profits fell 50% and stock value declined by 60%.  This situation prompted shareholders to bring the company to court.  Chesapeake’s financial troubles have extended into the present – as of February 2012 the company projected that low natural gas prices would lead revenue to fall billions of dollars below expenses. 

Since 2008, Chesapeake Energy has spent more than $8.6 million on federal lobbying, concentrating their efforts on energy and environmental issues. Chesapeake’s Political Action Committee has spent over $3.4 million on federal political candidates and committees.

Chesapeake Energy also funds the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization known for influencing American politics and supporting right-wing legislators. Other funders of ALEC include corporations such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and Koch Industries. 

In Chesapeake’s 10-K report, filed to the SEC, the company acknowledges the inherent dangers of their work, stating that, “the natural gas and oil business involves a variety of operating risks, including the risk of fire, explosions, blow-outs, pipe failure, abnormally pressured formations and environmental hazards such as oil spills, natural gas leaks, ruptures or discharges of toxic gases.”

Known Associates: 

Heartland Institute Scandals Convince Columnist of Climate Change Reality

Ken Midkiff, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist

PolluterWatch: Greenpeace Investigates Heartland Institute Leaked Documents -- click to see investigation and ongoing updates.

Some journalists have issues with reality. +

Heartland Institute website attacks Al Gore

Screenshot from Heartland Institute website, archived Dec. 21, 2007.

Known Associates: 

Heartland Institute Sting Operation Triggers Greenpeace Investigations

PolluterWatch: Greenpeace Investigates Heartland Institute Leaked Documents -- click to see investigation and ongoing updates.

What an awkward entrance into 2012 for the climate denial machine!  +

API's Jack Gerard Refuses to Answer Activists on Vote 4 Energy Advertising Costs

Referees call foul on Big Oil Lies

See video

We'll get to the encounter with Mr. Gerard below, but first, some context: +

Obama’s “New” Climate Initiative

Written by Kyle Ash, crossposted from Greenpeace Blogs +

Corporate stooge Robert Bryce loses his cool when asked about oil industry funding

See video

“A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization.” wikipedia

  +

Syndicate content

Connect

Keep In Touch

FacebookTwitterYouTubePolluterWatch RSS


Sign up for
POLLUTERWATCH News