Home » Left-wing climate group with shady backing takes prominent role against gas stoves

Left-wing climate group with shady backing takes prominent role against gas stoves

by John Jefferson
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A secretive climate activist group with significant financial backing is quietly taking on a more prominent role advocating against natural, gas-powered appliances, like stoves.

The Gas Leaks Action Campaign — which appears to have been first established in late 2021 or early 2022 — recently launched a $1 million ad campaign warning of the dangers posed by natural gas, the largest-ever effort of its kind. The group states on its website that natural gas harms the environment, pollutes the air inside homes and makes stoves “constantly at risk of explosion.”

The group has also spearheaded a campaign against the American Gas Association (AGA), the nation’s leading industry group representing natural gas providers. At a Washington, D.C. event earlier this month, Gas Leaks hosted Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., along with several environmental groups like the Sierra Club to blast the AGA’s lobbying activities.

“Instead of turning off the tap on fossil fuels, our country has been flooding the market with gas and, unless we do something, we are all going to drown,” said Markey, who is an original sponsor of the Green New Deal.

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AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert said in a statement that natural gas is “fundamental to protecting America’s energy security, achieving our environmental goals, and promoting economic prosperity.”

“Despite advocacy groups willfully spreading misinformation and promoting ill-informed energy policy that would drive up prices and sacrifice environmental progress, this industry will continue to implement inclusive solutions to deliver life-essential energy and reduce emissions for our customers and communities,” she added.

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Meanwhile, according to a Fox News Digital review of job search sites, Gas Leaks has posted several positions, including executive director, senior communications director, digital manager and digital designer, over the last two years with salaries ranging from $65,000 to $160,000. Altogether, the positions indicate the group’s yearly salary and wage costs potentially exceed $465,000.

But despite Gas Leaks’ growth and increasing influence with Democratic lawmakers and similarly climate-focused organizations, the group shares very little about itself online – its founders, funding and history are all shielded from public view. A Reuters report last month broadly stated that Gas Leaks was “formed by climate advocacy veterans.”

Gas stove

A LinkedIn search revealed that those “advocacy veterans” include Caleb Heeringa, a former Sierra Club communications official who serves as Gas Leaks’ campaign director; and Jamie Henn, the founder of Fossil Free Media, co-founder of 350.org and a board member of Gas Leaks.

According to Gas Leaks’ “about page,” which appears to have been removed from the group’s site but remains archived, Gas Leaks is supported by the clean energy advocacy organization Climate Nexus, which is itself fiscally supported by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit that regularly funnels money from donors to progressive initiatives.

The arrangement means Gas Leaks isn’t required to file its own 990 tax ID form with the Internal Revenue Service and can, therefore, operate without publicly sharing information about its internal operations or finances.

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“Senator Whitehouse conveniently abandons his soapbox railing against dark money when it’s time for him to cozy up to a dark money group that is pushing his preferred radical climate agenda,” said Caitlin Sutherland, Executive Director of Americans for Public Trust, a nonprofit government watchdog group. Sutherland noted the contrast between both Whitehouse’s relationship with Gas Leaks and his high-profile push against dark money in politics.

“This latest pop-up green group is pedaling misinformation in a shadowy attempt to ban gas stoves.”

Climate protesters

A Fox News Digital analysis of grants identified a single Gas Leaks donor: the California-based Heising-Simons Foundation, which states on its website that it seeks to advance “sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners and support human rights for all people.”

In 2022 and 2023, the Heising-Simons Foundation wired two $150,000 grants to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, earmarking both for the Gas Leaks Action Campaign.

The Heising-Simons Foundation has reportedly given more than $3.3 million in recent years to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a climate think tank that was involved in the aggressive push last year targeting gas stoves via regulation. The Heising-Simons Foundation was also co-founded in 2007 by Mark Heising, who remains its vice chair and is involved financially in a number of green energy companies.

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“The only thing green about today’s environmental movement is the billions in cash that flow freely between lefty billionaires, their operatives in the green movement, and the politicians who do their bidding,” said Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.  

“Their campaign to ban natural gas stoves is yet another example of the nexus between self-dealing wealthy elites like Mark Heising, green pressure groups like the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Democratic Party machine.”

Richard Trumka Jr. is photographed during a White House ceremony where President Biden presented presidential medals of freedom on July 7.

While environmentalists have for years sought to crack down on natural gas and gas appliances over their climate impacts, the push came to a head early last year when Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said banning gas stoves was “on the table.” The Department of Energy then issued regulations targeting gas stoves shortly thereafter.

In a social media post at the time, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm pointed to a Rocky Mountain Institute-funded study and said the government “must FIX this” by increasing access to electric stovetops. The study, which was also cited by environmentalists and other officials, tied 12% of childhood asthma cases to gas stoves.

Gas Leaks, Climate Nexus, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Heising-Simons Foundation didn’t respond to requests for comment for purposes of this story. Markey and Whitehouse also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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