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Greenpeace Mobilizes Against ‘Astroturf’ Rallies

8.09.70It didn’t take long for Greenpeace to build its campaign against the energy industry’s set of rallies against climate legislation. The energy industry rallies are being coordinated by the American Petroleum Institute, with mostly energy company employees, retirees and relatives being asked to attend.

Among the first of the so-called “Astroturf” rallies was held in Houston, which is headquarters to many U.S. energy companies. About 3,500 attended, many of them wearing yellow shirts that read “I’m an energy citizen,” reports the Houston Chronicle.

Organizers of the events say that climate legislation passed by the U.S. House will destroy millions of U.S. jobs and raise costs without reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. In a recession, they say it is poorly timed.

At least one oil company organized for its Houston-area employees and retirees to participate in the event. Chevron provided transportation to the event.

“Chevron supports a national climate change program that is transparent, promotes energy efficiency and conservation measures, treats all participants fairly and protects our economy and energy security,” Chevron spokesman Scott Walker told the Chronicle.

Shell Oil, which has come out in favor of climate change legislation, was “neither encouraging nor discouraging participation in the rally,” a spokesman told the Chronicle. Shell also is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which has supported a cap and trade program.

To combat the oil industry rallies, Greenpeace is encouraging an e-mail letter campaign to companies such as British Petroleum, Chevron, Shell, Conoco, Exxon, General Electric, Halliburton and others. The letters urge the companies to clarify their position in opposition to the American Petroleum Institute, as well as to withdraw their membership in the group.

According to Greenpeace, the letter states that the API campaign “would promote misleading and outdated information” and that “as a member of the API, your membership fees are funding this deceptive project.”

Greenpeace notes that some API members, through their membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, support the Waxman-Markey House climate bill.  Those firms include BP America, General Electric, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Siemens.

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