Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Oil Industry Targets New Congress

It may be a new year, but its an old message.

Anyone travelling to the Capital South station on the Washington Metro could hardly fail to notice the latest advertising blitz by the oil industry’s attack dogs the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The ad campaign is called “I’m One” and includes images of “real people” whom depend on energy.

The API has launched yet another advertising campaign to persuade the government to open more of the country’s coastline and interior for oil and gas drilling.

It is as if Deepwater disaster never happened.

The campaign, which will soon be rolled out across the US, is intended to coincide with the new Congress that starts today. The API is trying to persuade the new Republican controlled Congress that it is time to open up new offshore areas.

It argues that ending restrictions could create more than 500,000 jobs.

The jobs figure comes from an API commissioned study from Wood Mackenzie, the energy consultancy, which estimates that opening up the US east and west coasts, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains and part of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development could create 150,000 jobs by 2025 and a further 380,000 indirectly as a result of spending by the industry.

But we know that the API has been fast and loose before on its figures before, especially when it estimates how many people are employed by the industry.

Jack Gerard, president and chief executive of the API, told the Financial Times: “The public made very clear in those elections that they want politicians to focus on one thing above all: job creation and economic recovery … The oil and gas industry can be an engine of that recovery.”

Gerard also warned that up to 50,000 jobs could be lost if the government did not accelerate permits for deepwater drilling in the western Gulf of Mexico.

And in that sense, the US government seems to be buckling to the industry pressure. On Monday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement relaxed its requirements to make it easier to restart the 16 wells that had been begun before Obama’s moratorium after the Deepwater disaster.

While removing one potential obstacle, though, it does not automatically mean drilling will begin immediately.

Affected companies such as Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell must still meet new offshore drilling regulations before restarting their projects.

But these will be targeted by the Republicans and their friends at the API.

The mantra “Drill, baby, drill”, will be rallying cry in the corridors of power once more.

But then, personally “I’m one” for a clean energy future….

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