The American Rivers “Most Endangered” Scam

LNG - Tom Shepstone Reports Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

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American Rivers, an organization funded by America’s elite with a lot of help from taxpayers, runs a “Most Endangered River” scam that is a complete joke.

National Geographic, which is anything but the non-political image it cultivates, just helped promote one of the stupid pet tricks of the elite; the American Rivers “Most Endangered Rivers” scam. It’s an annual racket, intended to generate publicity using mind-numbed press robots who will faithfully regurgitate American Rivers’ press release as it if was big news.

This was the 34th year of such nonsense and is all too typical. It’s political lobbying dressed up as community caring, wrapped with a shawl of virtue signaling. There are, as usual, 10 “endangered rivers” and, of course, no discussion of who picked them other than the fact it’s “American Rivers,” a name that, in the world of the politically correct, is a warning to the wise not to question or risk being branded anti-river; a leper or untouchable, in the world of the beautiful people.

And, what is No. 5 on the list this year? Well, of course, its a river “endangered” by the “threat” of fracking. It’s the Rappahannock River in Virginia. If National Geographic had bothered to ask what happened to other rivers previously designated as endangered by fracking that might provided a truly interesting story but, naturally, that didn’t happen.

American Rivers is one of myriad tools of undue influence used by America’s elite to engage in special interest politics on a tax-exempt basis. It gets its money from groups such as the William Penn Foundation and the Tides Foundation, organizations set up by the Haas family and Teresa Heinz Kerry, respectively. The latter, of course, is a money laundering enterprise that uses funds provided by others who want a degree of separation from what they’re doing to pursue the special interests of those funders. They respend the funds as directed but it’s the Tides name that is on the grants, not the actual funders.

The William Penn Foundation, which funds the Delaware Povertykeeper a/k/a Riverkeeper, the Clean Air Council, PennFuture and the Sierra Club, among others, to attack fracking everywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region, not to mention the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), has given American Rivers over $1.3 million over the last three years:

American Rivers

Notice the artful wording of the larger grant and the word “advocacy” in the smaller grant description. It is impossible to tell where the line between advocacy and demonstration projects really is. One can read the former several different ways, which is intentional. The idea is to blur things to the point American Rivers can grab money for one thing and use it for another and especially for advocacy.

Meanwhile, maintaining the facade of being a doer of good works qualifies the organization for grants from taxpayers who gave American Rivers almost $2.5 million according to its 990 return for the year ending last June 30, including $267,794 for something called “A Market Based Approach to Integrate Agriculture and Habitat.” There’s also money for dam removal because, you see, American Rivers doesn’t like hydroelectric power (the biggest of renewables in most places) any more than they like fracking. They’re basically about aesthetics and preserving rural areas as pristine parks for the beautiful people who love to see them – unoccupied that is.

Yes, American Rivers is nothing more than another elitis de-growth tool intended to make wildernesses for the personal enjoyment of its funders, wherever they can do so. They spent almost $7 million on payroll-related expenses and another $3 million on professional services to do so, in fact, operating from some plush offices at the heart of Washington, DC while pretending to act in the name of rural communities they’d like nothing better than to drive out of their funders’ intended wilderness playgrounds.

American Rivers

They also practice the same sort of puffery seen at the NRDC where stars and starlets are given an opportunity to display their over-the-top self-righteousness through their appointment to the board. American Rivers couldn’t get Leonard DiCaprio but they did get a joker who does it for a living in that paragon of virtue, Jimmy Kimmel. No doubt they were proud of this:

American Rivers

Jimmy Kimmel’s stupidity is not what makes American Rivers annual “Most Endangered Rivers” living a stupid pet trick and scam, though. Rather, it’s what we reported here three years ago when we noted this:

The Susquehanna River basin has, subsequent to its designation as “Most Endangered” in 2005 and through its repeat designation in 2011, been the site of extensive Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

Most revealing, the following year (2012) and today in 2013, neither the Delaware or the Susquehanna even appear in the top ten list of endangered rivers that American Rivers has put out. This  raises an obvious question – if natural gas extraction was such a threat to the Delaware and Susquehanna, in 2010 and 2011, respectively, why is it no longer a threat, given that drilling is both on-going and widespread in the Susquehanna and likely to happen soon or later in the Delaware basin?  What gives?  How do these two “most endangered” rivers just drop off the map from one year to the next (2013 map depicted below and nothing in the Northeast)?

We know the answer, of course. It’s a totally political stupid pet trick that means nothing with respect to real threats; only that American Rivers is irrevocably opposed to any fracking anywhere (as well as hydroelectric power). It has previously designated the Upper Delaware, the Susquehanna, the Grand and the Hoback Rivers as threatened by fracking. It even identified the Susquehanna River as its No. 1 Most Endangered River in 2011 saying this:

One of the longest rivers in America, the Susquehanna River provides drinking water to millions of people and supplies more than half of the freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay. But the river and its clean water are threatened by natural gas development, which produces toxic waste and requires millions of gallons of water. Unless Pennsylvania, New York, and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission announce a complete moratorium on water withdrawals and hydraulic fracturing and comprehensive safeguards for clean water are enforced, drinking water and public health will be at risk. Partners include Susquehanna River Sentinel and Sierra Club.

What actually happened, according to a Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) study is this (emphasis added):

There was no strong relationship observed between natural gas well density and Pennsylvania IBI scores for 2011, 2012, or 2013 (Figure 18), with the spacing between the different parts of the boxes showing a high degree of dispersion regardless of what well density gradient is considered. Well density was not a good predictor of macroinvertebrate IBI scores…

More than 30 percent of all macroinvertebrate samples collected for the RWQMN project through 2013 were in watersheds where no natural gas wells have been drilled. Box plots constructed with existing data show no significant difference between IBI scores at sites with zero gas wells per square mile and those that have some degree of gas well development, even up to 3.7 wells per square mile.

So much for the American Rivers hyperbole. It was all one big wolf cry, now long forgotten as the same trick is tried again on the Rappahannock. The word Rappahannock means “where the tide ebbs and flows,” much like American Rivers’ rhetoric. It flowed deep with the Susquehanna only to ebb when none of its fear-mongering produced results. Now that memories of that fiasco have faded the American Rivers bombast is flowing deeper than ever, but pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

The post The American Rivers “Most Endangered” Scam appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

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