The oil and gas industry dares to speak up for itself with “Your Energy America” and is labeled fake by fractivists; the major purveyors of really fake news.
The oil and gas industry has made technological advances in the past decade that have reduced risks, operational costs and environmental footprints. It does its job in this arena extraordinarily well, but has traditionally lacked one major component it truly needs: effective public relations. Oh, yes, the companies all have PR programs and a few are even standout examples of how to get a message out, but, by and large, the PR is simply a term for mushy, meaningless news releases that can get by the lawyers, which is no way to educate or make a pitch that will be heard by anyone.
Contrary to popular belief, in fact, the industry as a whole does a rather terrible job at communications and education. While it is trying to be better and there are some good examples out there, there is little follow-through of the type needed to really make a point. Any golf player will tell you, the follow-through is just as important as the initial smack of the ball. If you take your eyes off of the tee to see where your ball could go, then you are going to slice it into the weeds. The oil and gas industry fits into this analogy as it calculates the angle, slowly pulls back for a steady swing, then it looks forward before the time is right.
With that being said, there is a new program with a difference. It’s called “Your Energy America” and there are a few offshoots for various states such as “Your Energy Virginia.” These sites are intended to educate and inform people with real facts on natural gas and delivery methods. The program does anything but hide its goals, in fact, as the first paragraph of the “About Us” page plainly indicates:
“Your Energy Virginia was created to speak out against a misguided movement that assaults our way of life. This movement is based on the simplistic belief that keeping our natural resources in the ground is the only solution to climate change. This isn’t just false — it’s dangerous to our quality of life, economy and energy security.”
I love the directness of this statement. I also understand why it has, perhaps, been only reluctantly endorsed by the industry. It has traditionally avoided controversy, preferring to speak with its actions, rather than its words. They are taking a beating for trying to do what so many of their opposition groups do so effectively: exercise their voice. An article on Huffington Post admitted “Your Energy America” was a “grassroots organization, something akin to the Sierra Club or the American Civil Liberties Union, but for folks who support natural gas” in the body of the article, yet the title of this same article was “Natural Gas Industry Brings A Fake Grassroots Group To Eastern Pipeline Fights.” You can’t win with Huffington Post types.
CounterPunch.org goes so far to lay out which PR firm helped create it and how it’s connected to both the Republican Party and Koch Brothers, etc. It notes the producer of “Your Energy America” is Democracy, Data & Communications, DDC, is a PR firm that has worked with a number of energy companies from BP, Dominion, and Edison Electric among others, as if those were somehow dirty words. Of course, the author of this comparison is Steve Horn, a “research fellow” (trendy talk for shill) at DeSmogBlog, a major fractivist outlet (note, too, the link criticizing the Dimock Judge).
Your Energy America has been active in supporting pipelines and natural gas as a whole, while many groups like the (newly emboldened Maryland chapters) Sierra Club or Food and Water Watch are busy fighting anything remotely resembling progress. So it is, of course, going to draw criticism. The critics I can handle, but the self-righteous hierocracy of fractivists projecting what they routinely do onto us is a bit too much to bear.
Many environmentalist groups have finances so tangled, many people cannot follow them. NaturalGasNow has made a niche for itself untangling these knots and has revealed a lot over the years. At least you know where the support behind Your Energy America is coming from, but those untied knots among the fractivist groups have led back to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and groups far richer than Koch Industries as we have seen with the Rockefellers.
Who cares if an industry vocally defends itself? It shouldn’t have taken this long to do so frankly. Fractivist groups reflexively oppose anything and everything remotely resembling progress, and it just so happens to be pipelines for the time being as they view this as a method of frustrating natural gas development. Just look at this Ecowatch article:
“If built, the pipelines would blow a gaping, methane-filled hole into any Virginia state plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. In fact, they would significantly increase climate pollution. Oil Change International found that these pipelines would together cause as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants—some 158 million metric tons a year. (See the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline greenhouse gas emissions briefings.) That’s because each new pipeline would trigger new gas production through fracking, and reliance on fracked gas for electricity is dirtier than coal when you add up the leakage of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, along the gas supply chain.”
Let me remind you that last year, NOAA produced a study that found methane from fracking is not even registering on the global scale and earlier this month they found the previous rules inflated the data altogether. When you have information like the Ecowatch junk going around, all you can do is set the record straight and do it forthrightly. That’s why I stand by the idea of Your Energy America.