Jack Gerard has pretty much been in crisis mode since taking over as president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute in November 2008. Shortly after he arrived at the powerful oil-industry lobbying group, President Obama and a wave of Democrats swept into office, promising to fund alternative energy sources and take action on climate change.
Last week three big players dropped of of the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), an industry-enviro lobbying coalition formed eons ago when a climate bill looked inevitable: BP, ConocoPhillips, and Caterpillar.
This week, pundits are poking at the tea leaves, looking to divine what it all means. Is it the crumbling of consensus, or a sign that things are getting serious? The beginning of the end ... or the end of the beginning. Here is some grist for that mill:
"The Obama administration has granted as much as $1.6 million in aid to help trade groups promote ethanol, natural gas, propane and biodiesel products, whose clean-energy selling points happen to fit with the administration’s push to cap carbon emissions. Oil industry allies said the administration was engaging in favoritism and financing propaganda."
The new coal industry front group 'FACES' has yet to come forward with a list of their members. Well, thanks to a few new-media gumshoes, including Appalachian Voices’ Jamie Goodman and our friends at DeSmogBlog, we’ve learned that not only is FACES hosted by a K-Street firm called Adfero, but all of the FACES of coal are actually ... iStockphotos. They couldn’t even get real photos of their supporters."
Bill Carteaux, head of a plastics lobby group, is at war against the mounting movement to ban BPA -- an ingredient linked to breast and testicle cancer and birth defects -- from products like baby bottles. His clients sells some $6 billion worth of BPA a year. As the FDA considers action, the industry has launched a state-of-the-art PR blitz using the web and fake science to downplay BPA's risks and discredit anyone who brings them to public attention.
"Citizens?" I don't think so. The majority of the local rallies organized by astroturf "Energy Citizens" are organized by registered oil industry lobbyists, reports Grist's Kate Sheppard. The fake citizens movement, funded by the American Petroleum Institute, is a copy of the anti-healthcare shoutdowns. As MSM have abandoned investigative reporting for Britney frippery, ace sleuth Sheppard got a copy of API's list of organizers. Of the 21, some 15 were professional lobbyists. Most were registered -- and a few were not, and a few more were not lobbyists but PR professionals.
Elizabeth Whelan, an industry-funded anti-science shill, added to the long list of health threats she has dismissed by condemning an August 23 article on pollution of drinking water by the weedkiller atrazine, reported by by Charles Duhigg in the New York Times.
You may have thought that Republican George Allen dropped off the map after he lost the Virginia Senate seat to Dem James Webb (remember the 'macaca' incident?) He is back -- shilling for a group styling itself the American Energy Freedom Center which aims to stop the climate bill now before Congress and reinstate the Cheney-Bush energy policies.