- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2014

Tom Steyer, the hedge fund billionaire-turned-environmentalist, just launched a multimillion-dollar attack-ad blitz that takes political dishonesty to a whole new level.

In his latest spot, Mr. Steyer accuses Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst of pushing American jobs overseas. In reality, all Mrs. Ernst did was bravely pledge to oppose tax hikes. Watchdog group Politifact judged the ad to be, in a word, “false.”

The ad campaign isn’t just deceptive; it’s hypocritical. As a self-described “professional pain in the [butt],” Mr. Steyer brags he’ll spend $100 million this election cycle to defeat candidates such as Mrs. Ernst who don’t buy in to his particularly sleazy brand of climate-change hysteria. A lot of the money Mr. Steyer now uses to advance his fringe environmental agenda was made off his investments in oil and natural gas.

While managing his hedge fund, Farallon Capital, Mr. Steyer made a killing off the same fossil-fuel industry he is now smearing as greedy and sinister.

Mr. Steyer isn’t the first green crusader to secretly owe his wealth or his way of life to fossil fuels. Given the stakes of our nation’s energy debate, Americans should stop taking these environmentalist hypocrites seriously.

Any list of “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” environmentalists needs to put former Vice President Al Gore at the top. With his global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” the former veep established himself an expert on carbon dioxide footprints — and his is massive.

In 2007, using public records, I determined that Mr. Gore’s Nashville mansion devoured more than 220,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — more than 20 times the national average. In some months, his electric bills topped $2,400. During the same year he was touting “An Inconvenient Truth,” a film demanding that Americans reduce their energy consumption, Mr. Gore’s combined electricity and natural-gas bills totaled just under $30,000.

Public pressure eventually forced Mr. Gore to give his Tennessee home a green-friendly overhaul. Since slapping solar panels on his roof, though, Mr. Gore purchased additional properties, and he continues to fly in private jets, even though the resulting carbon dioxide footprint can be more than 100 times greater than flying commercial.

Another elder statesman of enviro-hypocrisy is Robert Redford. The actor urged Americans to embrace “green buildings that use less energy,” but when an environmentally friendly housing development was planned too close to his Napa Valley winery, the actor quashed the project.

Mr. Redford also demands America “kick the oil habit,” despite having served as a paid spokesman for the world’s second-largest airline — no conflict there.

George Soros is a megadonor for environmental groups like the Alliance for Climate Protection and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Both groups are staunchly opposed to fracking, a technology that uses pressurized water and sand to capture oil and natural-gas deposits trapped deep underground.

His support for abolishing the drilling technique didn’t stop him from recently buying a $234 million stake in Consol Energy, an avid practitioner of fracking.

Then there’s Bill McKibben. As the head of 350.org, he is a leading advocate for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and killing the Keystone XL pipeline. He’s gone so far as to demonize imported foods, including oranges, because of the fuel consumed to transport them.

That hasn’t stopped Mr. McKibben from jetting around the globe to spread his anti-fossil fuel-message. It’s still unclear how this busy jet-fuel-guzzling travel schedule squares with his hard-line views on citrus.

Despite the silliness spewing from the mouths of environmentalist hypocrites, the economic and security benefits of domestic oil and gas production are hard to deny.

Thanks to advances in fracking technology, natural gas now sells for one-third of what it did in 2008. As a consequence, Americans are saving hundreds of dollars on their heating and electric bills annually — and that has to be good news for Mr. Gore.

Fracking is also propelling domestic oil production to its highest levels ever. In fact, the International Energy Agency recently announced that the United States has overtaken Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer. With the unrest in the Middle East and Ukraine, our energy boom couldn’t have come at a better time.

Despite so much good news, naysayers like Tom Steyer, Al Gore, Robert Redford and George Soros are doing their best to condemn the fossil-fuel industry. Until they start taking their own advice, however, there’s no reason for anyone else to.

Drew Johnson is an editorial writer for The Washington Times.

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