Leaked Memo: Oil Lobby Launches Fake "Grassroots" Campaign

Leaked Memo: Oil Lobby Launches Fake "Grassroots" Campaign
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UPDATE: people are beginning the send me on-the-ground info about the American Petroleum Institute events. Check the list at the end of this article to see if you live in a “target region” and to track updates.

An internal memo obtained by Greenpeace USA details polluters’ plans to launch a nationwide Astroturf campaign, staging fake “grassroots” events to attack climate legislation during the final weeks of recess before the Senate returns to debate the issue in September.

The email memo (download a PDF copy), which appears to come from the desk of American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard, asks API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide.  API is focusing on 21 states that have “a significant industry presence” or “assets on the ground.”

Taking a page from the playbook of Astroturf campaigners currently crashing health care town hall events across the country, API hopes to similarly sully productive communications between Congressmembers and their actual constituents.  Gerard states that API is ready to bus in company members and provide logistical support, and reveals that API has retained “a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups.”

Gerard’s email states that API is partnering on the rally campaign with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, confirming that the groups are staging a coordinated effort to attack climate legislation regardless that several prominent members of these groups have stated support for strong Congressional action to combat climate change.

Greenpeace sent a letter to Gerard yesterday asking him to verify the authenticity of the email, and pointing out that the plan “runs contrary to several prominent API members’ public support for climate action, namely Shell, BP America, ConocoPhillips, General Electric and Siemens.” 

The API memo closes with a ‘for your eyes only’ plea: “Please treat this information as sensitive and ask those in your company to do so as well… we don’t want critics to know our game plan.”

To which Greenpeace responded to Gerard in yesterday’s letter, “Game plan known.”

Here is a list of the “tentative venues” where API plans to hold “Energy Citizen” rallies.  If you live in one of the named cities, please email any news or tips you hear about the rallies to us at [email protected].

Houston TX (we’ve recieved more details on this one, see below)


API Energy Rally

The American Petroleum Institute is sponsoring a Grassroots rally focusing on energy related job security, adverse legislation, and high consumer prices currently under consideration in Washington. Anadarko will have 4 buses available for employees to attend during an extended lunch time. Additional buses may be provided based on the waiting list.

Buses will begin loading at 10:15 with an 10:40 departure for downtown Houston.

Hot Dogs and sodas will be provided at the venue.

Perry GA
Detroit MI
Roswell NM
Greensboro NC
Farmington NM
Ohio (venue being finalized)
Greeley CO
Nashville TN
Indiana (venue being finalized)
Bismarck ND
Tampa FL
Sioux Falls SD
Greenville SC
Anchorage AK
Joliet IL
Charleston WV
Fairfax VA
Philadelphia PA
Lincoln NE
Missouri TBD
Arkansas TBD


Leaked Memo: Oil Lobby Launches Fake "Grassroots" Campaign

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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