Voldemort Leads Oil Industry Trade Group

It is never good when your leader is compared to Lord Voldemort, the evil “Dark Lord” of the Harry Potter series. Yet, that’s how one oil industry insider describes Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute (API) according to a recent Washington Post profile.

The Post profile details Gerard’s long history as an anti-environmental, pro-pollution advocate. He previously worked for for Sen. James A. McClure, one of only 11 senators to vote against the overwhelmingly bipartisan and popular Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He then worked for the National Mining Association and the American Chemical Coalition, two groups not exactly known in Washington for their strong advocacy of worker and public health.

Now Gerard has taken the helm and steered API toward a less factual, more political advocacy agenda. The group has already bought at least $4.3 million in broadcast ads this year. These ads tend to target politicians who dare suggest that drilling should be done safely or that innovative clean energy startups might need tax breaks more than highly profitable oil companies. API’s advocacy often hides in small print attached to groups with more appealing names like “Energy Nation,” “Energy Citizens,” “EnergyTomorrow,” “Vote4Energy,” or the “Coalition for American Jobs.”

Just like Voldemort, Gerard is a formidable foe. He’s got powerful allies and strong weapons (in Voldemort’s case, magic; in Gerard’s, lots of cash) on his side. But - spoiler alert - in the end, Harry Potter and the powers of good defeat Voldemort. It’s a reminder to clean energy advocates not to give up. In the end, we too can defeat You-Know-Who.

 

Voters Want Obama's Clean Energy Plan

Another major poll has confirmed that American voters across the political spectrum welcome clean energy development. It also found that when given the facts, the majority of Democrats and Independents oppose the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil.

The support for clean energy isn’t news—many pollsters have determined that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents embrace clean energy and want to develop more of it. But the timing of this latest poll is instructive.  

It should remind candidates that clean energy is a mobilizing issue. It offers a positive way to address voters’ biggest concerns right now: jobs, economic growth, and the health of our families.  

But as NRDC’s Action Fund mapped out in the report “Running Clean,” in order to win on clean energy, candidates can’t just name check the issue.  

They have to lead on it. They have to offer a vision for America’s clean energy future, and they have to do it before their opponents frame the issue for them.  

This latest poll, conducted by Geoff Garin and Allan Rivlin of Hart Research, focused on four swing states: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio. Those same four states have been bombarded with ads funded by oil companies attacking President Obama. And yet the poll found that 45 percent of voters trust the president more than the Republican Congress when it comes to energy issues. The GOP-led House only got 38 percent on energy.  

The poll also asked voters if they supported the president’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. At first, voters opposed his decision by 43 to 32 percent. But when pollsters offered more detailed arguments for and against the pipeline, things changed. More voters started to back the president and resist the pipeline.  

Of those, 79 percent of Democrats thought the president was right to deny the pipeline, while 9 percent did not. Forty-eight percent of Independents agreed with the president’s decision to reject it, compared to 33 percent who want it go forward. For Republicans, the split was 69 percent to 13 percent.  

GOP supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline have been out front with their message over the past few weeks. They have been using wildly inflated jobs numbers and downplaying the fact that much of the tar sands oil would be imported out of the U.S. to other markets. But their story seemed to break through.  

Media Matters released a survey analyzing coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline from August 1 to December 31, 2011. A full 79 percent of the time, broadcast news reporting on Keystone XL interviewed a pipeline proponent.  They interviewed a critic of the tar sands pipeline only 7 percent of the time.  

With coverage like that, it’s no wonder voters aren’t getting the whole story. But when they learn more—like that the pipeline will create as few as 2,500 jobs according to a Cornell University study, will increase gas prices in the Midwest, and send its dirty oil to the “Foreign Trade Zone” in Port Arthur, Texas, where companies get incentives to export around the world, then their opposition grows. The Hart Research poll confirms it.  

But leaders have to get their message out about why the dirty stuff hurts America and why clean energy helps it grow. Voters respond to the clean-versus-dirty message, but candidates have to deliver that message clearly and quickly. This isn’t just about the race in November; this is the race every day to frame the debate first.  

Obama has done a masterful job of framing the benefits of the clean energy economy. He consistently says clean energy can deliver more jobs, safer air, and a bigger competitive advantage for Americans businesses, and he enacts policies—from clean car standards to incentives for wind and solar power—that are delivering those benefits right now. He believes so strongly in the appeal of clean energy that he made it the topic of his first presidential campaign ad last month.  

In the end, this isn’t about campaign rhetoric. It’s about our country’s future. The polls show that Americans trust Obama on energy issues and support his clean energy plan. They are giving him permission to lead the nation into a cleaner future.  

The dirty tar sands pipeline has no place in that future. But if Obama continues to head down the cleaner path, voters will follow.

ZEV Rally @ 1001 I St Sacramento CA

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) meets tomorrow. Their plan is to weaken the laws that govern pollution from automobiles. In particular they plan to reduce the number of Zero Emission Vehicles that were originally required by the law popularly known as the Zero Emissions Mandate or ZEV Mandate. In a show of public will we need anyone available from San Francisco to Reno to come to the rally and let CARB know that Zero Emission Vehicles, with out any dictates to which technology will get us them, should be in large numbers on the road. Plug-in hybrids should be encouraged as well as pure electric vehicles that use batteries and if the automakers want to make fuel cell vehicles sooner rather than later in large numbers they are certainly welcome to do so. The point is, we need those vehicles on the road now, so CARB shouldn't be working to limit the numbers of vehicles in the near future. Be there to show your support for clean air that comes from having cleaner cars.

Plug in America Press Conference and Rally

Date: Wednesday - March 26, 2008

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Where: California EPA Building

..........1001 I Street

..........Sacramento, Ca

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Rally for Zero Emission Vehicles. You're Invited!!!

Plug In America

Plug In America Needs Your Help. You Are Invited!

Plug in America Press Conference and Rally

Date: Wednesday - March 26, 2008
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Where: California EPA Building
..........1001 I Street
..........Sacramento, Ca

Electric Car Drivers: Bring Your EVs!

We want zero emission electric cars on the road, and we want them NOW! Help PIA inspire Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and CARB Chair Mary Nichols to do the right thing by clicking here.

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