GREENWASHED Center for Sustainable Shale Development

greenwashingGreenwash or Greenwashing  is form of spin where public relation campaigns or marketing by corporations or organizations is deceptively used to promote the perception that the entity’s aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion to support otherwise questionable aims.

Calling itself “green” doesn’t make it so.

A recent Public Accountability Initiative report, “Big Green Fracking Machine,” striped away the green paint to reveal the Heinz Endowments — a major CSSD sponsor — and various environmental groups represented on the center’s board of directors have “extensive undisclosed ties” to the very industry the center is trying to regulate.

Click here to read the full report.


  • The major philanthropic force behind CSSD, The Heinz Endowments, has significant, undisclosed ties to the natural gas industry. The foundation has contributed more than $250,000 to CSSD, providing funding to every environmental group involved as well as to CSSD itself. Heinz Endowments president Robert F. Vagt is currently a director at Kinder Morgan*, a natural gas pipeline company, and owns more than $1.2 million in company stock.
  • Environmental sponsors with CSSD board seats are closely linked to the natural gas industry. Although five environmental groups were involved in the discussions leading to CSSD’s creation, only three have seats on the Center’s board of directors.
  • One of the groups on the CSSD board, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, is controlled by fracking interests: half of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s board comes from Marcellus Shale Coalition member companies and all but two directors come from companies with a stake in the natural gas industry.
  • Another group on CSSD’s board, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), has significant board and funder ties to the natural gas industry and has lent its name to studies proclaiming fracking to be environmentally safe that were later discredited.
  • The third, the Clean Air Task Force, has ties to the industry through several board members.

Info Graphic of the Big Green Fracking Machine:

big green fracking machine

Like the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s “guidelines”, the CSSD’s “standards” do nothing to protect people and the environment from the hazards being inflicted by the natural gas industry.   Call it standards or guidelines, this is nothing more than greenwash designed to lull the public into a false sense of security.

The village of Potemkin would be proud.



*Kinder Morgan – Richard Kinder: Chairman, CEO of Kinder Morgan, left his position as president and chief operating officer at Enron in 1996.  Kinder Morgan was formed in July 1999, when Kinder and his partners bought KN Energy, a Colorado-based pipeline company. Kinder and Bill Morgan, another former Enron executive and University of Missouri classmate, created the company that would become Kinder Morgan by buying Enron’s stake in natural-gas liquids and carbon dioxide lines.

©2013 by Dory Hippauf



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