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“Your Energy America” Hits A Nerve with Fake News Fractivists

FractivistsK.J. Rodgers
Crownsville, Maryland  

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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.

Your Energy HomepageWith 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.

Environmentalist oppostionWho 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.

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14 thoughts on ““Your Energy America” Hits A Nerve with Fake News Fractivists

  1. Steve horn participated in a left forum event with some other media folks like Peter rugh who has “reported” on poisonous compressor stations in vice and Maura an anitfracking activist media gal from Ithaca. That was years ago. Desmog blog has been producing antifracking and anti ferc and anti pipeline propoganda for years. And Brendan de melle the editor there who banned me from speaking out I believe formerly worked with environmental working group. The web is quite tangled. Steve horn has smeared a woman archeologist on desmog blog over daktoa pipe as well. Desmog blog does not do journalism. That is for sure.

    By the way how many people do we think may catch wind of bill mckibben latest piece in rolling Stone? Way more than will see any material from this industry effort is my guess. And what’s the track record for rolling Stones reporting on fracking and pipelines for that matter? Poor doesn’t begin to describe it. FYI: vice now has an activist arm called vice impact. Wenonah hauter of food and water watch has been featured there.

    Amazing stuff huh? What is bill mckibben, the Bernie Sanders fan and purported climate leader saying about natural gas in this latest article?

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/how-politicians-must-fight-climate-change-in-the-trump-era-w489549

  2. https://mobile.twitter.com/billmckibben/status/879830415514767360

    Advice to seniors from bill mckibben. Go get arrested over a natural gas pipeline.

    Maybe pretend the permitted pipeline is a mass grave and lay down in it, then refuse to get out until first responders have to carry you out like Al gores daughter karenna? I’m sure there is an ecocamp of resisitance to join on a pipeline somewhere.

    PS. One was called for over the Rockaway pipeline years ago.

  3. Thanks K.J. I agree with you 100% that the industry needs to project an honest image with real facts to back up truth and to get it out into the public. Politicians simply have their fingers into the wind when making decisions which have huge implications for our industry and the communities that we serve. If the only voice out there is the voice of “no”, guess how they will vote when it comes to deciding on approval or disapproval of projects.

  4. Fake News Alert!!!

    The author of the article states that “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.”

    However, the author of this post here is either being intellectually dishonest or outright lying.

    The full quote from the article states that “Your Energy paints itself as a grassroots organization, something akin to the Sierra Club or the American Civil Liberties Union, but for folks who support natural gas.” You can check it yourself.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/natural-gas-pipeline-your-energy-virginia_us_593afeb1e4b0240268793e8d

    There is no inconsistency with the title of the article and its contents whatsoever.

    • You would be wise to simply consider huff post a fake news site in general.

      By the way I have witnessed people forming Facebook accounts as if these were real organizations when they weren’t or were simply campaigns of other organizations, groups claiming 5000 members in paperwork submitted to federal agencies that are no more than a handful of people and these were “grassroots” antifracking or pipeline organizations. Sane energy for example is one such group.

      Explain to me who beyond extreme energy is exactly? How is membership accounted for? What about fang? What about food not fracking? What about people not pipelines? On top of the large organizations spreading misinformation , which are food and water watch, Sierra club and 350 org chapters there are many grassroots groups as these that are part of the anifracking pipeline resistance movement. Grassroots does not equal honest, factual or anything of the sort anyway.

      • Accurately quoting and characterizing a source is extremely important no matter whether you disagree with its contents or not. Do you disagree? I would hope not. The author either intentionally misrepresented the source material, or was extremely lazy in his reading of the source material. Either way it is an embarrassing mistake. This is exactly how Fake News is generated and disseminated.

        • If this is the best you can do, Alphege…

          BTW, is that your real name? Or, is it fake? I know there was a Saint Alphege but there doesn’t seem to be anyone around today with that name, at least not picked up in Google’s net. Are you sure that’s your real name? I’d really like to know!

          • Unable to respond to the substantive comment pointing out a gross mis-characterization in the post, Tom again resorts to ad-hominem attacks. Typical tactics of fake news pundits and internet trolls everywhere…

          • I’m pretty confident our readers will know who’s fake and who’s not here, Alphege. Nice try at deflection.

        • Is this a “news” site Al? No right? It’s a blog. It is not written by reporters.

          You think Alexander Kauffman is a reporter worth reading or that Huffpo does good news? Will he research the grassroots antifracking pipeline ressitance movement people, verify what they say in anyway or does he do press release reporting for huffpo? Please. I participated in two federal dockets with antifracking pipeline activists. In both dockets there were in fact problems with the information provided by the companies as in some information was flat out wrong (liberty natural gas llc and port Ambrose docket) or left out (Rockaway pipeline docket). In both cases eventually the federal agency in charge was able to address the misinformation. Having said that in both dockets the people acting the worst and spreading the most deliberately false information were antifracking pipeline activists and environmentalists. They even went as far as to create a conspiracy theory on the port ambrose project which was picked up by the press.

          So sure, it is news and information that industry groups are taking some action but the reality is that more bad reporting has come from reporters relying on activist sources for information on pipelines not pipeline company sources or actual information from agencies that do evaluating or permitting. (The exception to that last part would be the NY DEC if you asked me.)

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/alexander-c-kaufman

          • Tom, the whole “I am not deflecting, you are deflecting” is a rather childish argument. You still haven’t responded to the initial substantive comment, which I assume is because it is essentially indefensible. Why not just issue a simple correction? Seems easy enough.

  5. Karen, 1) whoa, non-sequitur much? (in fact that pretty much seems to be your shtick with regard to all of your comments on this site…you really are quite obsessed with Port Ambrose) 2) I am glad you recognize that this site simply is not up to the same journalistic standards as other news sites. Which is pretty clear from many of the other blatantly erroneous assertions provided in various posts.

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