Anti-Climate Bill Astroturf Grows

The oil industry's "Energy Citizens" Astroturf campaign against legislation to address climate change sprang a leak. Greenpeace obtained an email from American Petroleum Institute (API) head Jack Gerard to members and allied companies. In it, Gerard urges "all API members to get involved," especially by making a "commitment to provide significant attendance" to API-organized "Energy Citizen" rallies. "API will provide the up-front resources," Gerard stresses, including by "contracting with a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups." Gerard also boasts that "our messages on Waxman-Markey-like legislation work extremely well" in opinion polls. API's messages are discredited claims that the bill will cause energy prices to soar and "lead to significant job losses." API's rally plans have underscored divisions within the oil industry. API members Shell and BP "are also members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which has supported a 'cap and trade' approach," notes the Washington Post. "Spokesmen for both companies said yesterday they would not participate in the 'Energy Citizen' rallies." Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity is launching a "'grassroots' 'Hot Air Tour' across nearly a dozen mid-western states," also in opposition to climate legislation, reports Dow Jones.