But the picture gets even scarier when you follow the money a little further, as ThinkProgress recently did. In a major exposé on three Astroturf groups attacking clean energy legislation - Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and Energy Citizens - ThinkProgress shows that many of the major individuals and companies tied to these well-funded efforts are in turn funded by countries that export oil.
We'll repost a few of the most damning paragraphs here, but we suggest you head over to ThinkProgress and read the entire report for yourself:
– The lobbyist-run front group Americans for Prosperity is perhaps the most active anti-clean energy group in the country. In addition to working furiously to orchestrate anti-clean energy themed tea parties, Americans for Prosperity is running anti-clean energy legislation ads, anti-climate change science ads, and is even barnstorming around the country with anti-clean energy “hot air” rallies. The organization was founded and is bankrolled by David Koch of Koch Industries, a major refiner of oil. Through Koch Industry subsidiaries — Koch Supply & Trading and Flint Hills Resources — Koch imports crude oil and unfinished oils from a variety of foreign sources, including from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
– Currently, FreedomWorks is focusing their energy activism on supporting the status quo reliance on fossil fuels. Throughout 2009, as FreedomWorks leader Dick Armey organized tea party opposition to clean energy reform, he simultaneously worked for the lobbying firm DLA Piper on the account of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. According to disclosure forms filed with the Justice Department, the UAE paid Armey’s lobbying firm at the time to help maintain the “development of UAE energy resources, which represent about 10 percent of global oil reserves.”
– Oil companies have attempted to demonstrate popular support for fossil-fuel dependence by hosting “Energy Citizen” rallies around the country, where employees of oil companies are bused in for large events. The “Energy Citizen” website claims that converting a clean energy economy would mean “less energy independence.” Ironically, the main sponsor of the Energy Citizen effort is the American Petroleum Institute, which is a trade association for companies like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Sunoco. These companies, in turn, are highly dependent on foreign oil imports — from countries including Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Venezuela. For perspective, Exxon Mobil imports 27%, Valero 29%, and Chevron 36% of its oil from Persian Gulf countries alone.
Now might also be a great time to remind everyone that America's dependence on oil poses a major national security threat.
The fact is we spend $1 billion a day on foreign oil. With our dependence on oil from hostile nations hurting our economy, helping our enemies and putting our security at risk, it's particularly stomach-turning to see how connected these countries are to so-called "grassroots" efforts to keep us hooked on their oil.