Follow the Money

Not long ago the Joint Landowners Coalition of NY (JLCNY) filed suit against the State of New York to force the state to allow gas companies to drill into and hydraulically fracture the Marcellus Shale underlying much of the Southern Tier of the state. These landowners, of course, stand to make a lot of money on royalties paid them for “their” gas. A quick Internet search revealed that JLCNY has a total cash on hand of about $90,000 which, besides suggesting rather lukewarm  support of $1.28 from each of its claimed 70,000 members, is hardly enough to pay for such a law suit. So, who is bankrolling this attack on taxpayers of the state? The Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is, pro bono according to JLCNY board member, spokesperson, and general nuisance, Victor Furman. And who, one might ask is MSLF? Not surprisingly it is a 501(c )( 3) non-profit organization created and supported by ultra-conservatives opposed to environmental protection. The founder was right wing extremist Joseph Coors of brewing fame who also co-founded the Heritage Foundation and other right wing “think” tanks.  The current Chairman of the Board is one John R. Gibson, whose chemical company, AMPAC has been cited for numerous infractions of environmental regulations.  A recent addition to the board of MSLF is Mark S. Sexton, CEO of Denver-based Inflection Energy LLC and of newly incorporated Inflection Energy (NY) LLC. If the name Inflection Energy sounds familiar, it is because the company, in 2010, offered to lease Broome County land for fracking at a price that just happened to equal that of the county’s budget shortfall. The County Council, having been informed of the somewhat shady backgrounds of Mr. Sexton and his associates turned down the deal. But it surely no coincidence that a deep-pocketed right-wing anti-environmental group of which Mr. Sexton is a director is bankrolling an attempt to force through the courts what the gas lobby has been unable to force on the people of NY through the democratic process. 


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