Industry is intensifying its campaign against landowners and environmentalists.

The electric utility sector’s top lobbying group is teaming up with fossil fuel trade associations as part of an effort to intensify the industry’s campaign against citizen and environmental groups opposed to fracking and new natural gas pipelines.

A senior official at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) said at a recent conference in Pittsburgh that her trade group has grown “very aware of the ‘Keep It in the Ground’ movement” as its member companies have become more reliant on natural gas. These activists are opposed to the extraction of all fossil fuels, not just coal, said Karen Obenshain, senior director of fuels, technology, and commercial policy, according to Matt Kasper, research director at the Energy and Policy Institute, who attended the conference. (Kasper worked at the Center for American Progress from 2012-2014. ThinkProgress is an editorially independent project of CAP.)

From Keystone XL to Dakota Access to ongoing efforts to curtail oil and gas drilling, anti-fossil fuel activists caught the attention of energy companies and their representatives in Washington years ago. Aside from only a small number of victories, however, the activists have largely been unable to stop pipelines or slow down fracking. And yet the gas industry isn’t taking any chances; it wants to ensure its winning percentage remains strong.

EEI brings to the table a budget of $90 million and a strong lobbying network in Washington and state capitals that can be used to help squelch fossil fuel resistance. The trade group plans to join the American Petroleum Institute, the American Gas Association, and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America to advocate for natural gas, Obenshain said at Platts’ Coal Marketing Days conference in late September, according to Kasper.

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Think Progress – Mark Hand – 11.06.2017

Posted by: Nelson Bailey

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