Corporations

Fri, 2012-01-13 12:53Farron Cousins
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US Chamber of Commerce Jobs Plan Rehashes Old, Debunked Talking Points

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its “The State of American Business 2012” plan this week, outlining their own vision of how to create jobs in America. There were no surprises in Chamber President Tom Donohue’s address to business leaders. He simply rehashed the same tired talking points that we’ve seen from them for years.

In addition to enacting what they call a “globally competitive tax code” and “fixing our broken immigration system,” the Chamber threw out some classic gems that persist despite being able to withstand the truth test. From their newly launched FreeEnterprise.com website:

Produce American Energy and Rebuild Infrastructure. Approve the Keystone XL pipeline to put up to 250,000 Americans to work over the life of the project while preventing the EPA from enacting new regulations on fracking that sabotage a natural gas revolution. Complete Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, which is more than four years delayed, to strengthen our aviation system and deploy the NextGen air traffic control system. Renew surface transportation funding legislation before it expires in March and invest in water infrastructure.

Advance Regulatory and Legal Reform. Pass the Administrative Procedure Act to restore sound science, quality data, and common sense to the regulatory system while curbing regulatory overreach by EPA and the National Labor Relations Board. Stop the expansion of liability at home and abroad that is sucking the vitality out of our nation’s job creators.

Put more bluntly, this is the Chamber's message: Do away with environmental and health protections and let the same companies that brought us the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and countless other “accidents” expand oil drilling, fracking, and other dirty energy extraction methods in every possible place. “Trust us, we're experts,” they say.

Fri, 2012-01-13 10:32Emma Pullman
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Cozy Ties: Astroturf 'Ethical Oil' and Conservative Alliance to Promote Tar Sands Expansion

As the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project Joint Review Panel begins hearing over 4,000 comments submitted by community members, First Nations, governments, and environmental groups, the tar sands front group EthicalOil.org has launched its latest PR offensive in support of the pipeline. OurDecision.ca, the new astroturf ad campaign, is another dirty PR attempt to undermine the real and growing grassroots opposition to Big Oil’s plans to ram through this destructive pipeline. 

The controversial Northern Gateway project is opposed by 70 First Nations and a majority of British Columbians, who fear the inevitable oil spills that will accompany tar sands expansion, and in particular the threat of offshore tanker accidents on BC’s coast.

Viewers of Ethical Oil’s disingenuous new ad campaign aren’t being told about the intricate web of industry influence peddlers behind the effort and their connections to the Harper government and oil interests. In the middle of this web is Hamish Marshall, a Conservative strategist deeply connected to oil interests as well as both the Conservatives and ultra-right wing Wildrose Alliance Party. In this case, the lines between politics and big business interests are so blurred, it is nearly impossible to distinguish them.

Mon, 2011-07-25 23:51Steve Horn
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Chesapeake "Declaration of Energy Independence": NAT GAS Act Embodied

This article has been cross-posted with permission of the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch.

On July 11, Chesapeake Energy, the second largest methane gas corporation in the United States, announced its  “bold new plan”: a “Declaration of Energy Independence” for America’s energy future. (“Natural gas” is the public relations term the industry uses for methane gas, because it sounds so much more appealing than the real name.)

The plan is double-pronged and will no doubt lead to increased levels of fracking, the process drilling companies use to extract methane gas in areas like the Marcellus Shale and other shale deposits throughout the country. Fracking is a dirty process, as covered in-depth by DeSmogBlog in an April 2011 report titled, “Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens our Water, Health, and Climate.”

First, Chesapeake will pour $150 million into Clean Energy Fuels Corporation (CEF). Energy tycoon and hedge fund manager T. Boone Pickens sits on CEF’s Board of Directors and owns a 41 percent stake, according to the company’s March, 2011 10-Q filing. That money will go toward funding methane gas fueling stations along federal highways spanning the country.

Second, Chesapeake has purchased a $155 million, 50 percent stake in Sundrop Fuels, Inc.  Chesapeake’s CEO, Aubrey McClendon, is also the CEO of Sundrop Fuels.

While superficially a “bold new plan,” the reality is that the plan serves merely as the embodiment of the vision outlined in House Resolution 1380, the NAT GAS Act of 2011 (New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011), with all of the same key players still in the fold.

Tue, 2010-10-26 05:32Emma Pullman
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Money Talks: Big Oil & Special Interests Bankroll Anti-Clean Energy Efforts on the Campaign Trail

With a week to go before the U.S. midterm elections, the Center for American Progress Action Fund has released a great interactive map that shows who’s been bankrolling efforts to halt clean energy efforts and back the anti-clean energy reform agenda.  After the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision permitted corporations to spend unlimited money influencing elections, the election terrain has become a dizzying display of corporate muscle and dollars.  Perhaps most dizzying is how easy it is for Big Oil and special interests to hide behind benevolent-sounding front groups, and how difficult it now is for us to know whose interests are shaping the elections.

In this midterm election, Democratic-aligned groups have been outspent by an astounding 7 to 1 margin, and Republican-aligned groups have flooded the nation’s airwaves with a flurry of ads.  According to CorpWatch, they have spent over $300 million, five times as much as they did in 2006.

CAP’s stats come from a Repower America report that shows the companies and organizations spreading misinformation about clean energy and climate change.  13 organizations have injected $68.5 million in 2010 alone into fictitious TV ads designed to spin clean energy legislation.  Since August alone, they’ve pumped over $17 million into their efforts. 

CAP’s report offers a state-by-state breakdown of the top donors, and follows the money to the source. And it’s not pretty.  The stakes for a clean energy future are high as oil and coal groups spend more and more helping climate-denying candidates run in tight races.

Wed, 2009-07-29 09:38Ross Gelbspan
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Look Who Larry Craig Is Playing Footsie with Now!

Larry Craig, former punchline of Idaho, has opened a Washington consulting firm to work as an energy lobbyist. New West Strategies LLC offers “strategic advice, guidance, and advocacy” from Craig.

The senator was arrested in 2007 in a sting operation against men cruising for sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He’s assisted by former chief of staff Michael O. Ware, a guy who obviously knows how to hitch a ride on a rising star.

Wed, 2007-10-03 13:09Bill Miller
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In a classic display of corporate cynicism, Toyota fights stronger emission standards in U.S.

As the U.S. Congress debates the first substantial fuel-economy boost in decades for automakers, Toyota has joined Detroit in the fight to sustain the practices that have imperiled the planet and driven American car manufacturers to the brink of bankruptcy.

Why would the industry leader in fuel-efficient cars take such a reckless path amid growing awareness of global warming? Because there’s a lot more money to be made if Toyota can slow innovation in Detroit and sustain gas-guzzling.

Wed, 2007-06-20 10:05Kevin Grandia
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PR 101: actions speak louder than words; ExxonMobil needs to walk the walk

UPDATE: guess all our good karma is coming back, this story has been running on ExxonMobil's Financial News page on Google all day!

Last week ExxonMobil chief spokesperson, Kenneth Cohen, was in London playing a bit of PR offense for the oil giant. Cohen went after Greenpeace for their recent report outlining the funding in 2006 that Exxon provided to 41 think tanks and associations.

These groups have been on the front lines of the war against the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to humans as the cause of global warming.

Tue, 2007-06-19 15:43Kevin Grandia
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Google has $10 million for 100 Mpg.

Google announced today that it will offer $1 million in grants and a further $10 million in funding for the development of a car capable of 100 miles per gallon. 

The program is part of Google's philanthropic efforts under a program called RechargeIT. 

Tue, 2007-06-19 14:22Emily Murgatroyd
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Viva Vivoleum

Well known culture jammers, the Yes Men, who practice what they call 'identity correction' by posing as representatives of well-known corporations and organizations and making outrageous comments on their behalf, pulled off their latest installation of genius at the Oil and Gas Exposition 2007 in Calgary.

Posing as members of the National Petroleum Council, they unveiled Vivoleum, an oil product derived from dead victims of global warming disasters.

We don't have any video from the event yet, but here's a photo slideshow we found on Flickr.  

Read more: Viva Vivoleum
Tue, 2007-06-19 13:51Kevin Grandia
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ExxonMobil slowly shedding its "skeptical" skin

ExxonMobil's chief spokesman, Kenneth Cohen recently stated that, “Exxon Mobil Corp. never in the past decade doubted the risk from climate change… [and] had simply firmed up, or “evolved,” its understanding of the threat.”

If by firming up the science, Cohen means spending an estimated $23 million on think tanks and associations that have spent the better part of the last decade attacking the scientific evidence for human-induced global warming, then we couldn't agree more.

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