The American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the oil and natural gas industry, is trying to re-write history by claiming that it has remained “neutral” about U.S. climate legislation.
Nothing could be further from the truth, actually.
API orchestrated the entire “Energy Citizens” astroturf campaign last year precisely to fight against climate legislation. Greenpeace USA obtained an internal memo[PDF] from the desk of API president Jack Gerard detailing polluting interests’ plans to launch the nationwide astroturf campaign attacking climate legislation as “tax increases on our industry.”
The API memo requested API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend the “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide during the August recess last year, no doubt hoping to be confused with a genuine grassroots uprising, much like the tea parties.
In fact, the API memo confirms that it would be funding and staffing the whole highly-orchestrated campaign:
To be clear, API will provide the up-front resources to ensure logistical issues do not become a problem. This includes contracting with a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups. It also includes coordination with the other interests who share our views on the issues, providing a field coordinator in each state, conducting a comprehensive communications and advocacy activation plan for each state, and serving as central manager for all events.
Fast-forward to yesterday, when Anne Mulkern of E&E’s Greenwire (syndicated by the New York Times) reported on comments made by API spokeswoman Cathy Landry:
Landry said API has not been among those calling climate legislation a national energy tax. API has not come out in opposition to any of the Senate climate bills, saying that it is “neutral.”