Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Organic Consumers Association

Russian and Chinese Close Ties to US Environmental Groups

By —— Bio and Archives--July 26, 2018

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Russian and Chinese Close Ties to US Environmental Groups
Two of the world’s biggest polluters are China and Russia. You would think that US environmental groups would be major critics of these countries, yet the reality is some take money from entities controlled by these governments and disseminate their propaganda.  1

High-level Russian oil and political interests fund and support American environmental groups which then launch attacks on the US natural gas and oil industry. These attacks lead to new regulations and restrictions on American oil, which then reduces the amount of international competition for Russian products.


Much of the money is spent lobbying the development of hydraulic fracturing or fracking for natural gas and oil in the Untied States. Fracking allowed the US to pass Russia and become the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015 and this lowered the global price of oil. Low oil prices have greatly harmed Russia’s economy. 2

A shell corporation with ties to a Russian state oil interest ‘donated’ $23 million to an environmental bundler which passed the funds to the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the League of Conservation voters.

The NRDC, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters accepted donations of $13.5, $15, and $18.1 million from the Sea Change Foundation. The Sea Change Foundation got $23 million from the shell corporation Klein Ltd, which only exists on paper. Klein Ltd has deep ties to Russian energy investment groups like Firebird New Russian Fund and Vimpelcom Ltd. Klein Ltd is incorporated in the Bahamas and thus doesn’t have to disclose its donors reports Andrew Follett.2

Ken Stiles, A CIA veteran of 29 years said, “The Russians are very adept and skilled at making long-term investments. They sit back very patiently to see how their funding can pay off over a period of many years,” He added: “Whether these environmental groups realize it or not, they could be operating at what we (in the CIA) call ‘agents of influence.’ By working to block natural gas production, environmental activists are advancing policies that work to the advantage of Russia and to the disadvantage of America and America’s allies. America’s natural gas revolution has huge geopolitical ramifications, so Russia’s motivation to try to block our natural gas development is easy to understand.” 3

Then there’s China. Recently, the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations wrote a six page letter to the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council asking for information regarding its relationship with the Chinese government. 1

The letter pointed out that the CIA and FBI report that China imposes stipulations on financial support to academic institutions, think tanks, and non-profits in the United States to reward pro-China viewpoints and to discourage research or advocacy that would damage China’s global image or standing.

There is concern about NRDC’s role in aiding China’s perception management efforts with respect to pollution control and its international standing on environmental issues in ways that may be detrimental to the United States. NRDC press releases, blog posts and reports consistently praise the Chinese government’s environmental initiatives and promote the image of China as a global environmental leader.1

In another case, Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and the groups it funds, like US Right to Know and the lawyer-run partisan attack site Sourcewatch, may be in a lot of trouble. Shortly after being revealed as the financial source for promoting anti-vaccine sentiment, they have now been shown to be working in collusion with the propaganda arm of the Kremlin. 4

In addition, sources have revealed that Gary Ruskin, the primary fundraiser for USRTK, is under scrutiny as being possibly in violation of the US Foreign Agents Registration Act because he has not filed as a foreign agent even though he may be representing the interests of foreign powers in a political or quasi-political capacity.

This organization’s war on technology also includes attacking GMOs. USRTK has never been fond of GMOs, which are largely the result of American innovation. The anti-GMO stance is not based on science or health concerns; instead it’s based entirely on hurting US agricultural companies. That’s why USRTK receives more than $400,000 from the Organic Consumers Association, a group that spreads lies about GMOs. 5


  1. Richard W. Rahn, “Taking aim at the real polluters,” Washington Times, June 11, 2018
  2. Andrew Follett, “Here’s how Russian oligarchs gave $23 million to US environmentals,” The Daily Caller, December 8, 2015
  3. Kevin Mooney, “The connection between Russia and 2 green groups fighting fracking in the US,” The Daily Signal, April 22, 2018
  4. Hank Campbell, “How the Kremlin manipulates environmentalists, and more ACSH media links,” acsh.org, May 22, 2017
  5. Alex Berezow, “Dear Gary Ruskin and anti-GMOers, stop being puppets for Putin,” acsh.org, May 2, 2017


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Jack Dini -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jack Dini is author of Challenging Environmental Mythology.  He has also written for American Council on Science and Health, Environment & Climate News, and Hawaii Reporter.

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