By Gary Wamsley
I received a large green card in the mail yesterday. It proclaimed that “Local Control of Energy is Bad for Colorado.” The card was paid for by Energy Citizens.
This card immediately raised several red flags for me.
First, the large size of the card means that it costs considerably more to mail than a standard postcard. That means that whoever Energy Citizens is, it is well financed, unlike most actual citizen groups I have been associated with.
Second, the card was addressed to my wife who is registered as a Republican, so it was obvious they are targeting their audience.
Third was the fact that none of the four claims on the back of the card are true, at least they offer no facts to back up their statements. These are all statements of opinion or outright falsehoods.
Who then, is “Energy Citizens?” I went to their web site and my attention was immediately drawn to a box labeled KXL Facts, i.e. that is the Keystone XL pipeline. The “facts” there are demonstrably false. The Congressional Budget office estimates something like 2,000 jobs for 2 years then less than 100 full time jobs thereafter. Not the 42,000 jobs stated here. Then there is the claim for a $20 billion stimulus effect. This is a greatly exaggerated number provided by TransCanada, the company wanting to build the pipeline. TransCanada and the oil industry have made some extremely wild claims about the benefits of KXL in order to make is seem attractive.
We need to ask who stands to benefit from Keystone if we are to analyze these claims. First, the Canadian company that is mining the tar sands in Alberta (partially owned by the Koch brothers) stands to profit billions of dollars. Next are the multi-national firms that have refineries on the Texas coast who will be refining the bitumen (it is not oil) and shipping the finished product to China. It will not increase domestic supply of gasoline and will not reduce the price of gasoline.
So, who is energy watch? According to Sourcewatch.org,
“Energy Citizens is a front group backed by the American Petroleum Institute, the main trade group and lobbying arm of the oil industry, to fight climate change legislation currently working its way through Congress. The official website describes the group as a “nationwide alliance of organizations and individuals formed to bring together people across America to remind Congress that energy is the backbone of our nation’s economy and our way of life.” A look at the participating organizations, however, shows a long list of oil, coal, and transportation interests.”
You can read their entire entry here: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Energy_Citizens
The Political Correction website answers the question Who’s Behind the “Energy Citizen” Rallies? The money behind the scenes can be viewed here: “Special Interests”
What can be said about this mailer? It is part of a program of disinformation by the oil and gas industry to defeat the local bans on fracking. They will spend millions of dollars to twist the facts and try to convince voters to vote down these issues. Without even looking, I can recognize that everything they say or print will be untrue or be twisted so much as to be unrecognizable.
They also purposely ignore any environmental impact of either fracking or the oil spills that will certainly occur on the Keystone XL pipeline.
I invite you to comment on each of the four claims made in this mailer (image below). Critical examination will reveal that there is no substance to any of the claims. Their first disinformation is their name. They would like you to believe that they are a group of local citizens, when they are industry advocates. They do not care about your local confers.