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Complete with Threats and Astroturf, Big Oil Preps for Election Year Push

Common Dreams
Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, issued a vailed but unmistakable warning to President Obama on Wednesday during remarks given at the oil and gas industry’s State of American Energy event in Washington.

“Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest,” Gerard said during remarks. “A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences.” Such statements made observers at Greenpeace wonder if Gerard would prefer to be annointed “the President of United States of Energy” and not just another oil lobbyist.

The ultimate “national interest” determination, in fact, will be made by the Obama in consultation with the State Department, which has repeatedly said it needs more time to determine the environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada through the US heartland – including over the Oglalla aquifer – to refineries on the Gulf coast.

The oil industry event served as a launching pad for API’s new public relations campaign – Vote4Energy. Though Gerard insisted the campaign was “not a campaign, but a conversation” it would, by its very nature, act as the mouthpiece for the oil and gas industry as it seeks to “educate” politicians and the public. “Through information distributed through our state networks, through grass roots outreach to millions of voters, and through conversations” the campaign would seek to pressure politicians and candidates in 2012.

Though Gerard’s contention was that the industry’s focus would be to promote “an electorate that is educated on energy” environmental groups were quick to push back against the kind of “education” the industry has long been known for. Greenpeace voiced pronounced skepticism:
(5 January 2012)
Energy Tomorrow (API site).

TV: I Vote 4 Energy (spoof of API ad)


This video spoofing an actual American Petroleum Institute “Vote4Energy” commercial shows how Big Oil has to fake citizen support for dirty energy. Pushing projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and Arctic offshore drilling, API lobbyists want Americans to Vote 4 Big Oil at the expense of cleaner and safer energy development. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter @voteforenergy. Brand jamming courtesy of PolluterWatch.
(4 January 2012)

Canada: Climate Criminal

Rex Weyler, Greenpeace International
At the dawn of the 21st century a new political regime has transformed Canada from global hero – once standing up for peace, people, and nature – to global criminal, plunging into war, eroding civil rights, and destroying environments.

What happened to Canada? Oil. And not just any oil, but the world’s dirtiest, most destructive oil. Canada’s betrayal at the Durban climate talks – abandoning its Kyoto Accord commitments – is the direct effect of becoming a petro-state.

By the late 20th century, oil companies knew that the world’s conventional oil fields were in decline and oil production would soon peak, which it did in 2005. These companies, including sovereign oil powers such as PetroChina, turned their attention to low-grade hydrocarbon deposits in shale gas, deep offshore fields, and Canada’s Alberta tar sands. Simultaneously, inside Canada, oil companies began promoting the political career of the son of an Alberta oil executive, the conservative ideologue Stephen Harper.

Shell Oil opened operations in the tar sands in 2003. In 2004, the same year Canada signed the Kyoto Accord, committing to reduce carbon emissions, oil companies began to form “think tanks” and astroturf groups in Canada to establish the oil agenda and promote Harper as Conservative Party leader. Two years later, in 2006, Harper’s Conservatives formed a minority government with 36% of the popular vote and launched Canada’s petro-state era, slashing environmental regulations, joining US Middle East wars, and launching a tar sands campaign, one of the most ecologically destructive industrial projects in human history.

In Durban, in December 2011, after mocking climate science and common decency, Canada’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent announced that Canada would abandon the Kyoto deal, abrogating a legally binding international agreement, which Canada had signed seven years earlier.

The Canadian government has become the policy arm and public relations voice of the international oil industry, discarding its reputation as an ethical country. Millions of Canadians have expressed outrage at the government that abandoned them and shamed Canada on the world stage. These voices are rarely heard in Canada’s corporate media. Meanwhile, Canadians witness an erosion of free press and civil rights within their own nation. They should not be surprised.

Life as an oil resource colony

“Oil and democracy do not generally mix,” explains Terry Karl in The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States. Oil is a “resource
curse” for local populations, as experienced by Nigeria, Indonesia, Venezuela, Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and other nations. Oil rich nations attract oil industry patrons, who tend to support dictators. Petro-states often lose local economic sovereignty, suffer human rights atrocities, and see their environments devastated.
(4 January 2012)
Suggested by EB contributor Kathy McMahon.

Why is an oil stock owning Congress member pushing to end EV tax credits?

David Herron, Torque News
Perhaps when we think “oil companies want to kill electric cars” our imagination is running away with us, but when a Congressman who owns/owned millions of dollars in oil company stock, who is also a car dealer, and wants to kill electric cars, what else is our mind to think?

Yesterday we reported that Rep. Kelly proposed legislation to end the Bush era $7500 electric car tax credit, while being an unashamed hater of electric cars who owns a Chevrolet car dealership. Today reports surfaced that Rep. Kelly also owns millions of dollars worth of oil company stock, and our minds leap immediately to the idea many of us share that the oil companies want to kill electric cars.

The theory that oil companies want to kill electric cars is shared by so many of us, is so obviously plausible (e.g. if electric cars are commonplace wouldn’t the the oil companies want to stop it?), that the facts of Rep. Kelly’s life seem like a walking talking breathing example of this idea in real life. But does that mean the oil industry wants to kill electric cars? No, not necessarily. Rep. Kelly is not the oil industry, he’s a Congressman who owns a car dealership and owns (or owned) a large quantity of oil company stock. There is a difference.

To reiterate yesterday’s story, HR3768 was filed last week by Rep. Kelly and would terminate the section of the U.S. Tax Code that grants a tax credit of up to $7500 for purchases of electric cars.
(4 January 2012)