American Petroleum Institute Dreams Of Placing Lobbyists In Every District

Wed, 2011-07-06 13:38Farron Cousins
Farron Cousins's picture

American Petroleum Institute Dreams Of Placing Lobbyists In Every District

Oil industry lobbyist and president of the American Petroleum Institute (API) Jack Gerard made his industry’s goal clear in a recent interview with Fortune Magazine. Mr. Gerard said he hopes that in the near future there will be an oil lobbyist on the ground in every U.S. Congressional district in order to help his industry flourish, “so when a policy proposal hits the industry’s bottom line, lawmakers from Seattle to Savannah will hear complaints about it from voters back home.”

As API president, Mr. Gerard is the leading representative for more than 400 different oil and gas companies. Gerard took the helm of API in November 2008, leaving a lucrative post as the head of the American Chemistry Council. In the short time that Gerard has led the API, he has instituted numerous reforms to help the oil industry focus its messaging to change public attitudes towards the industry’s behavior.

One of the major tools that Gerard brings to the API is the use of astroturf “grassroots” operations, something that the oil industry had not yet capitalized on.

In a series of town hall events last summer, Gerard used his astroturf activists to help spread misinformation about a Democratic-sponsored bill in Congress that would have placed stricter standards on offshore oil rigs in order to prevent disasters like the BP Deepwater Horizon. The bill would have also removed liability caps for companies who spill oil, something the oil industry was vehemently opposed to.

Thanks to Gerard’s astroturf efforts, public opposition to the bill appeared to originate from the bottom up, and the bill was defeated in Congress. Fortune described one of Gerard’s less-than-honest tactics during that process: 

“Last summer, after the House passed a tough bill to boost safety standards for offshore drilling and remove a liability cap for oil spills, Gerard mounted a round of rallies in regions far from the oilfields. At one, in suburban Chicago, more than 500 union workers assembled for a slick corporate production stage-managed to look like a working-class event.”

Gerard has also helped streamline his organization, laying off 20% of the API staff, and whittling dozens of priorities down to about six.

One of the most significant areas that he cut is the API’s modest research into renewable energy sources. His main focus has been to recruit Democrats to the side of big oil, in order change the perception that only Republicans support the fossil fuel energy industry. Again, from Fortune:

“He has set about trying to change the perception that Big Oil and Republican politics are inextricably bound, a pursuit that gained urgency when Obama moved into the White House. Gerard acted quickly, hiring Marty Durbin, nephew of the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, to head up API’s lobbying team and start opening Democratic doors on the Hill. He organized fly-in lobbying visits by African-American, Hispanic, and female oil workers. And he formed a partnership with the building and construction trades department of the AFL-CIO to tout the job-creating potential of new drilling projects. Informal talks with social-media experts from the Obama campaign prompted Gerard to poach Nature Conservancy’s Deryck Spooner to help build a grass-roots army that now claims more than 500,000 members.”

Gerard’s efforts appear to have paid off, as his industry was able to keep their multi-billion dollar subsidies and tax breaks in the midst of a nasty budget fight in Washington. And with the success of last summer’s astroturf campaign to defeat oil drilling safety measures, Gerard has announced that he is planning to do the same thing in the next few months to combat the negative attention that currently surrounds the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

With plenty of oil and gas money backing him, Jack Gerard seems unstoppable. And thanks to Citizens United, he might very well be unstoppable. According to independent analysis, candidates who receive and spend the most money during a campaign win their election in more than 90% of races – from local to federal offices.

If Mr. Gerard is successful in placing lobbyists and oil representatives in every district in America, Big Oil could truly determine the outcome of nearly every political race from now on.

Comments

For a good movie on lobbying and the republicans, check out “Casino Jack”.

““He has set about trying to change the perception that Big Oil and Republican politics are inextricably bound,”

Glad they admit finally that they basically just buy conservative poliicians. Its no about the science. Its about the fossil fuel money.

Hmmmm A lobiest in every district huh?

That would reduce the Greenie lead down to around 10 to 1 over industry lobiests..

Still a long long way to go ….

“That would reduce the Greenie lead down to around 10 to 1 over industry lobiests..”

Because clearly the greenies have as much money as the collective fossil fuel industry…..duh?!

What are they going to bribe with…….moss?

I believe every state should have an Eco-Rep. What is the difference and which one will keep you warm when the trend continues?

“Gerard used his astroturf activists to help spread misinformation about a Democratic-sponsored bill in Congress”

Left wingers always howl like babies when they can’t get their way, and always concoct preposterous conspiracy theories to explain it.

To left wingers, and opposition or resistance to them = “astroturf” and “misinformation”.

Face it, your reign of stupidity is ending. Time to get real jobs.

“Left wingers always howl like babies when they can’t get their way, and always concoct preposterous conspiracy theories to explain it.”

We have evidence there is a massive concerted effort by the fossil fuel industry to kill off any carbon tax legislation. That’s no conspiracy.

Where as the conspiracy you believe in….the rise of communism/socialism/NWO/Bankers/colluding scientists worldwide etc, is baseless & tin foil stuff.

On the oily denialist disinformation machine.

“Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”
by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

“Climate Cover-Up”: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”
by James Hoggan with Richard Littlemore

“Global Warming and Political Intimidation: How Politicians Cracked Down on Scientists as the Earth Heated Up.”
“It’s a lively, albeit sobering narrative which recounts his and others’ experience of harassment, character assassination and unfounded accusation from the politicians who serve fossil fuel interests in the US Congress.” (quoting Hot Topic NZ)

“Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change”
by Clive Hamilton
He outlines the decade-long, coal-industry funded campaign in Australia to deny climate science.

“Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate”
by Stephan H. Schneider and Tim Flannery

LOL…..
Sairick said
“”Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists””

You got some big hands there fella….

last time I counted there were more than 35,000 in that handful…

and more every day.

As for books.. well there are just too many to list, but start with “The Deniers”.

“last time I counted there were more than 35,000 in that handful…”

Wow, deniers still use the debunked oregon petition? That was exposed a few years ago anonymous. You are quite new to all this aren’t you?

Funny how Michael J Fox was & Bugs bunny were considered scientists & there were no phone numbers or addresses to verify anyoe on that list. The few verifiable people on that list were called & denied ever putting their names to that list.

Your misinformation attempt = FAIL.

Sorry Phil…

I was never “Debunked”. You Deniers continue to claim that but it simply never happened.
that list and several others stand. They are well sourced and can be checked and verified easily.

I did hear something about some Warmists masquerading on some of the lists to plant some doubtful names but I have not seen them myself.

In any event. The lists are real and credible and anyone can verify them for themselves and ignore your disinforamtion attempts.

‘I was never “Debunked”. You Deniers continue to claim that but it simply never happened.’

‘I’ indeed, ‘I’.

Do we really have Art Robinson himself turning up here?

Well I bring you cheer:

Astounding Interview with “Oregon Petition” Nutjob – Art Robinson

http://climatecrocks.com/2010/10/13/astounding-interview-with-oregon-petition-nutjob-art-robinson/

enjoy. Whether you really are Art(ful) Art’ or not. If you still think you have not been debunked then you have your head up your Artful Alpha-Romeo-Sierra(good club)-Echo (chamber of denial).

Simply an old keyboard….

Sould have read “It was never debunked”

Regardless of the spelling, the petition list stands as credible and verifiable.

Many (including Desmog) tried to smear it but always failed.

[x]

For years, the oil and gas industry has worked to convince Americans that the rush to drill shale wells across the country will not only provide large corporations with lavish profits, but will also create enormous numbers of attractive and high-paid jobs, transforming the economies of small towns and cities that greenlight drilling.

The industry's numbers are often picked up by policy-makers and politicians who back drilling, in part because talk of job growth is an especially alluring idea in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.

But numerous independent studies have...

read more