Leaked Memo: Oil Lobby Launches Fake "Grassroots" Campaign

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UPDATE: people are beginning the send me on-the-ground info about the American Petroleum Institute events. Check the list at the end of this article to see if you live in a “target region” and to track updates.

An internal memo obtained by Greenpeace USA details polluters’ plans to launch a nationwide Astroturf campaign, staging fake “grassroots” events to attack climate legislation during the final weeks of recess before the Senate returns to debate the issue in September.

The email memo (download a PDF copy), which appears to come from the desk of American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard, asks API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide.  API is focusing on 21 states that have “a significant industry presence” or “assets on the ground.”

Taking a page from the playbook of Astroturf campaigners currently crashing health care town hall events across the country, API hopes to similarly sully productive communications between Congressmembers and their actual constituents.  Gerard states that API is ready to bus in company members and provide logistical support, and reveals that API has retained “a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups.”

Gerard’s email states that API is partnering on the rally campaign with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, confirming that the groups are staging a coordinated effort to attack climate legislation regardless that several prominent members of these groups have stated support for strong Congressional action to combat climate change.

Greenpeace sent a letter to Gerard yesterday asking him to verify the authenticity of the email, and pointing out that the plan “runs contrary to several prominent API members’ public support for climate action, namely Shell, BP America, ConocoPhillips, General Electric and Siemens.” 

The API memo closes with a ‘for your eyes only’ plea: “Please treat this information as sensitive and ask those in your company to do so as well… we don’t want critics to know our game plan.”

To which Greenpeace responded to Gerard in yesterday’s letter, “Game plan known.”

Here is a list of the “tentative venues” where API plans to hold “Energy Citizen” rallies.  If you live in one of the named cities, please email any news or tips you hear about the rallies to us at [email protected].

Houston TX (we’ve recieved more details on this one, see below)

API Energy Rally

The American Petroleum Institute is sponsoring a Grassroots rally focusing on energy related job security, adverse legislation, and high consumer prices currently under consideration in Washington. Anadarko will have 4 buses available for employees to attend during an extended lunch time. Additional buses may be provided based on the waiting list.

Buses will begin loading at 10:15 with an 10:40 departure for downtown Houston.

Hot Dogs and sodas will be provided at the venue.

Perry GA
Detroit MI
Roswell NM
Greensboro NC
Farmington NM
Ohio (venue being finalized)
Greeley CO
Nashville TN
Indiana (venue being finalized)
Bismarck ND
Tampa FL
Sioux Falls SD
Greenville SC
Anchorage AK
Joliet IL
Charleston WV
Fairfax VA
Philadelphia PA
Lincoln NE
Missouri TBD
Arkansas TBD

PDF icon GP API letter August 2009-1.pdf25.12 KB
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I’m more for saving people from disease, starvation and war while protecting the planet at the same time. That’s a lot more then Greenpeace does.

If that’s the case, Paul, you’ll criticize the oil industry to the utmost, as they perpetuate all four of those plagues which threaten the existence of humanity. Their resource causes AGW, which spreads disease and starvation due to warming and shifting rainfall patterns, there have been many wars for oil, and their resource is destroying the planet. Any steps to criticize the oil industry, such as those taken by Greenpeace, moves us forward in tackling all four of these plagues caused by the oil industry.

Why would I criticize the oil industry? I buy the gas for my car. It’s not like gas or oil are addictive or anything.

If we followed Greenpeace, tens of millions would die and the world, especially the developing world, would suffer the most.

Oil isn’t evil Stephen, it’s good. If we have to reduce CO2, fine, but why blame oil companies when it’s me using the oil?

and the point extends to coal or even cigarettes or junk food . End users of the product are not in such a great position to criticize it.

We are all Big Oil and we are all King Coal.

Good point Rick. We freely choose the use many products because they improve (sometimes greatly improve) our life. If Canadians are as concerned about AGW as we often say we are, it is us who should be reducing our consumption first. If we did this, oil companies would automatically get smaller.

So what you are saying Paul S, is that we as users must reduce our dependency on oil, coal and other sources of CO2. It’s down to us. Yes, absolutely. But the big oil companies are doing their best to dissuade us from believing that there is any threat from AGW, and that has to affect how much people are willing to do. If Big Oil is telling us it doesn’t really have an impact, they are telling us it’s okay to keep consuming, keep churning out CO2. This clouds the issue and creates confusion that is NOT reflected in the science.

But Big Oil isn’t telling us not to act on AGW, unless you count the pennies they have spent.

And blaming Big Oil for “clouding” the issue is nonsense. We are well educated in Canada and still have mostly chosen a wait and see attitude.

Foisting the blame onto Big Oil is a simple psychological mechanism which allows us as individuals to ignore our own responsibilities.

So the manufacture of doubt and dissemination of pseudoscience, via political organizations and the gutted/intellectually lazy media (at least in the U.S.), can have no effect? There’s plenty of “blame” to go around, but it’s hard to accept that Big Fossil has played no part in reinforcing complacency, and hindering progress toward making individual efforts more widely affordable/appealing.

If Canadians are well-educated on this issue, why have they adopted a “wait and see” attitude, considering the risks associated with inertial lag and long-term feedbacks in the climate system, and the time it could take to stop the accumulation of fossil CO2?

Not sure if you are questioning Greenpeace’s integrity or wondering if this is a feint/plant. But the details were posted on API website on Energy Rallies page and then scrubbed. I have emailed what details I found to Kevin. Will post if this is not updated.

You ever look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKfgtB2ovE0 or the other info available on what’s going to happen when they really start hydrofracking more of the Marcellus Shale gas plays throughout WV, PA & NY? Can you just picture what the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh would be like with actual journalists covering the story as opposed to cowering from FOX and their knuckle-dragging mouth breathing wetbrain bigots screaming drill baby drill, thinking they’re sitting atop a gold mine?



http://www.dailykos.com/tag/Hydraulic%20Fracturing http://vimeo.com/5367213

Per the Houston event memo and the original memo and the time of the events (obtained via google results) it seems clear that the idea is to bus in employees of industries opposed to the bill (or whose CEOS are GOP or don’t like Obama or some such) just in time for news cycle, on lunch hour or after work. It is important to educate the media about what this isn’t and to watchdog the false information being spread at these events at the cost of the climate bill.

8/18 (11:30 AM). Houston, TX. Verizon Wireless Center.

8/20 (11.30 AM) Roswell, NM. Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds, Arts and Crafts Building

8/20 5.30 PM Greensboro, NC. Greensboro Coliseum.

8/21 (11:30 AM). Lima, OH Veterans’ Memorial and Civic Center.

8/21 (11:30 AM) Farmington, NM. Convention Center at McGee Park

8/22 (11:30 AM). Atlanta, GA. Marriott Century Center.

8/25 (11.30 AM) Nashville, TN. Wild Horse Saloon.

8/25 (11:00 AM). Elkhart, IN. RV Hall of Fame.

8/25 (TBD) Greeley, CO. Island Grove Regional Park, Exhibit Hall

8/27 (11:30 AM). St. Louis, MO Hilton at the Ballpark.

8/27 (5.:00 PM) Tampa FL, Tampa Convention Center

8/27 (TBD). Bismarck, ND National Center of Energy Excellence at Bismarck State College, 4th Floor

8/31 (TBD). Anchorage, AK Anchorage Convention Center

8/31 (5:00 PM). Greenville, SC. Carolina First Center.

9/1 Springfield IL Time TBD Venue TBD

9/3 (Time TBD) Detroit MI Burton Manor Banquet and Conference Center.

9/3 (4:30 PM). Philadelphia, PA. Venue TBD.

9/3 Richmond, VA. TBD.

9/5 (2:30 PM). Lincoln, NE. Embassy Suites Lincoln.

9/7 (1:15 3 2:15 PM). Huron, SD. Freedom Stage, South Dakota State Fair

Big Oil companies use these kinds of tactics all the time. Check out this video about Chevron’s attempts to weazel out of a $27 billion lawsuit brought by communities affected by their polluting practices in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Even Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes hates the dirty tricks Chevron is using! http://chevrontoxico.com/news-and-multimedia/2009/0818-60-seconds.html

Let it be stipulated that Big Oil is evil and all that jazz…now what is Obama getting in bed with them for? - seems weird http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/18/good-news-obama-backs-off-shore-drilling/

API has retained “a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups.”

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