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Republicans Probe Putin’s Alleged Effort To ‘Undermine American Energy Security’ By Funding US Green Groups

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  • Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a probe into several green energy groups reported to have taken money from an allegedly Russian-funded foundation seeking to undermine U.S. energy security.
  • The GOP committee members wrote to three groups Thursday — the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club — demanding more information about their financial ties to the California-based Sea Change Foundation.
  • “It has been alleged that Putin is using a San Francisco-based eNGO, the Sea Change Foundation (Sea Change), to funnel money into U.S.-based environmental advocacy efforts designed to undermine American energy production,” the letters stated.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a probe into several green energy groups reported to have taken money from an allegedly Russian-funded foundation seeking to undermine U.S. energy security.

The GOP committee members wrote to three groups Thursday — the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club — demanding more information about their financial ties to the California-based Sea Change Foundation. The Republicans cited reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has funneled money through Sea Change to the environmental groups, according to the letters sent to the groups’ leaders.

The NRDC vehemently denied the allegations Thursday, saying the reports Republicans referenced were false.

“It has been alleged that Putin is using a San Francisco-based eNGO, the Sea Change Foundation (Sea Change), to funnel money into U.S.-based environmental advocacy efforts designed to undermine American energy production,” the GOP’s letters stated. “According to a 2014 report, Sea Change receives contributions from a ‘Bermuda-based company called Klein Ltd.’ which is used ‘for funneling Russian government money to American environmental groups in order to undermine U.S. natural gas and oil production to Russia’s benefit.’”

“Notably, reports suggest that your organization is one of the top e-NGO recipients of Sea Change grants since 2006,” they added.

The Sea Change Foundation was founded in 2006 as a private family foundation dedicated to addressing global climate change, according to its website.

The organization had net end-of-year assets worth more than $255.7 million and raised more than $54 million in 2018, its latest annual filing with the Internal Revenue Service showed. Its top contributors were its co-founders and co-directors Nathaniel Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons and a fund under their name, the 2019 filing showed.

Klein Ltd., the Bermuda-based company that has allegedly funneled money from Russia to Sea Change, according to the letters Thursday, has previously denied such efforts, The Washington Times reported. Klein Ltd. was founded in 2011 and now operates under the name Sea Change Foundation International, of which Simons and Baxter-Simons are co-directors.

Sea Change Foundation International is the “international philanthropic counterpart” to Sea Change.

“I wish to clarify that press reports speculating that Klein has received funding from outside sources are factually incorrect and have no basis,” Simons said in a statement amid speculation of Sea Change’s finances in 2018, according to Inside Philanthropy. “Neither Klein nor Sea Change Foundation has ever solicited or accepted contributions from non-family related sources.”

But in their letters to the environmental groups that reportedly received significant contributions from Sea Change, the Republicans posed a series of questions about how closely affiliated they were with the Russian government. They also asked which specific programs the funds received from Sea Change were earmarked for.“

“Any action by President Putin, the Russian government, or Putin’s allies to undermine American energy security must be addressed,” they wrote.

They requested answers from the groups by March 25.

The NRDC, however, echoed Simons and characterized the allegations as a “distraction” in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“These allegations are false. We receive no funding from the governments of Russia or China,” NRDC’s director of strategic engagement Bob Deans told the DCNF. “We answer to our independent leadership, and we don’t do the biddingI like the toon, not sure if it matters, but it’s Saudi Arabia, not Sadi Arabia. of any government – foreign or otherwise – in our work to advocate for commonsense environmental protections in the public interest.”

“These allegations are rooted in a smear campaign orchestrated nearly a decade ago by fossil fuel interests and a right-wing think tank,” he continued.

Sea Change, the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

In February, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, disrupting global energy markets and exposing Western reliance on Russia for oil and gas. Republicans and fossil fuel industry groups have urged Biden to reverse course on his energy agenda and incentivize greater domestic energy production.

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3 Comments

  1. Germany and, in fact, all of Europe are dependent on Russian oil and gas due to their decades long “green new deal” policies of shutting down nuclear and coal fired plants. Biden jumped on board and helped cause this whole horrible situation by immediately shutting down our energy independence and any opportunity for Europe to use the U.S. as an alternative to Russian gas and oil. Putin’s coffers grew, he saw the debacle in Afghanistan and Biden even signaled that we wouldn’t intervene in an “incursion” and so he attacked. Now we have idiots on both sides of the aisle calling for a “no fly” zone which will effectively mean war with Russia. That, while WE are still buying Russian gas. What insanity. And don’t call me a Russian asset or Putin supporter because I think he’s a thug and a criminal but those are the facts.
    The only long term solution is to immediately restart the Keystone pipeline and remove all of Biden’s sanctions on our oil and gas production and exploration so that will be energy independent again and able to eventually supply gas and oil to Europe and Germany. Of course, Biden has refused. How ironic that everyone is calling for severe sanctions on Russia while Biden has already imposed severe sanctions on us that are the cause for our inflation and rising gas prices. The sanctions won’t hurt Russia because of their newfound alliance with China and the fact that China can easily buy, use, and or resell anything that Russia care to export. The “sanctions” are, in reality, sanctions against our middle class and will only continue to skyrocket inflation and gas prices here.
    Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any short term solution. This whole horrible situation was caused by Biden and decades of “Green” policy in Germany and Europe. Also, by our meddling in Ukraine’s elections (under Obama) and our leading the Ukrainians on and continual pushing for them to join NATO; which was a direct threat to Putin. Unfortunately, the brave people of Ukraine will pay the price. It is always “the people” that pay the price for the Politicians lies and incompetence and now there is a new refugee crises in Europe and tens of thousands will die. Way to go Brandon……..

  2. “Republicans Probe Putin’s Alleged Effort To ‘Undermine American Energy Security’ By Funding US Green Groups”

    so let’s inspect this from another view…

    Putin is funding ‘green groups’, whatever those are. Let’s just take for granted this is true.

    Putin leads a nation from which we have purchased a lot of oil for many years–although percentage-wise, it makes up less that 10% of our oil imports. He can cut us off anytime he wants, and it’s in his best interests to do so, geopolitically, yet he doesn’t.

    As for financially, Russia is best served–short term–in selling oil to the USA, and Putin funding ‘green groups’ would work against that self-interest.

    So why is Putin funding these groups? Is it to undermine US energy in some undefinable way & reason when he could merely cut off oil today and accomplish the task of undermining America’s energy in a much more effective manner? Or, is it to help America ween off dependence on a nation they have long forced into the public consciousness is our existential enemy?

    But while we’re on the subject, why is it Putin that has done these deeds we are to believe are so evil in intent? Did Putin himself meet with ‘Sea Change’ in some dark alley, handing over untold sums of money to Americans? And if giving money to your foreign adversary serves to harm them, then what could Putin do to help America?

    The US pours money into all manner of groups, agendas and nations… could the same principle be applied to us? Is America undermining the world by funding, say… the bioweapon labs in Ukraine, and Wuhan China? Or, any of the 300+ biolabs around the world that are funded and directed by covert means by the Pentagon & CIA–which is America’s war machine, not civil research oriented?

    It sounds to me like this is another 180 degree spin in which, as Victoria Nuland puts it, is classic CIA/Pentagon behavior of blaming the other guy for exactly what you, yourself, are doing. Which also, not by chance, is exactly what the Left and their fake news media have been doing for the last X number of years, and even more so after Trump took office. We’ve all seen this with our own eyes.

    And if this article’s premise was not wholly ludicrous and obviously propaganda to begin with, we might ask ourselves how Putin–who the Left hates, hates, hates–is doing the work for the Left’s ‘climate change’ agenda?

    Or an even better question: why is the writer of this article pushing the Left’s fixation for all thing Putin & Russia?

    We all know the politicians we loathe in Washington all want us to join their hate-Russia-Putin-evil tirade, and the Left’s media wants to manipulate us into hating Putin and Russia, while only offering lies and vague reasons as to why that is justifiable. But when I see writers supposedly from conservative organizations pushing the same narrative the Left is desperate for us to believe, I really wonder if that person is just fooled by the Left’s globalist propaganda narrative, or if they are working as controlled opposition.

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