Energy Citizens

Energy Citizens Is An Oil Industry-Funded Group That Opposes Environmental Legislation And Oil Regulations 

Energy Citizens Front Group Created By The American Petroleum Institute “Aimed At Derailing Climate-Change Legislation”

“Energy Citizens is a creation of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s largest trade group. (In 2009, API has spent some $5.8 million on lobbying, much of it on the climate and energy bills.) A memo from API president Jack Gerard, leaked to Greenpeace, urged his group’s members to ensure “turnouts of several hundred attendees” at supposedly grassroots events like the ones Energy Citizens was sponsoring.” [Mother Jones12/05/09]

“Energy Citizens” Is Coordinated By The American Petroleum Institute. “Taking a leaf from the playbook employed by health care reform opponents, the oil industry has put together an ‘Energy Citizens’ movement aimed at derailing climate-change legislation. […] Similar rallies, which the American Petroleum Institute is coordinating, are planned for 22 cities across 19 states, so far not including California. They are meant to send a “loud message” to the U.S. Senate when it takes up the House-passed cap-and-trade bill next month, according to a memo from the industry trade group, of which Chevron is a prominent dues-paying members. […] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and a number of state business organizations are on board with the program (” [San Francisco Chronicle08/20/09]

Energy Citizens Holds Rallies To Oppose Environmental Legislation— Where API Lobbyists And Oil Company Staffers Come Together To Call Climate Change A “Hoax” And Dismiss Oil Spills

The Oil Industry Backed Energy Citizens Protests of Environmental Legislation. “Hundreds of people packed a downtown theater here on Tuesday for a lunchtime rally that was as much a celebration of oil’s traditional role in the Texas way of life as it was a political protest against Washington’s energy policies, which many here fear will raise energy prices…The event on Tuesday was organized by a group called Energy Citizens, which is backed by the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s main trade group. Many of the people attending the demonstration were employees of oil companies who work in Houston and were bused from their workplaces.” [Clifford Krauss & Jad Mouawad, “Oil Industry Backs Protests of Emissions Bill,” The New York Times, 08/18/09]

API Lobbyists Organize Most Energy Citizens Rallies. “Most ‘Energy Citizens’ rallies are being organized by registered lobbyists working on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and other energy interests. A list of organizers circulated by the Sierra Club shows state-registered lobbyists for the energy industry [were] serving as the coordinators for 16 of 21 scheduled events organized under the campaign.” [E&E News08/21/09]

  • At One Energy Citizens Rally, Oil Executives Called Climate Change A “Hoax…” “What was billed as an organic grassroots jobs rally quickly descended into attacks on three things the Kochs most oppose: global warming science, oil safety regulations, and Democrats. One of the speakers, Sgt. Dennis Bartow, called global warming a ‘hoax.’ He was joined by Karen Wright, CEO of the gas company Ariel Corporation, who ridiculed climate change as ‘questionable science’ and referred to pollutants as ‘so-called carbon dioxide emissions.’ Wright went on to rail against ‘so-called green jobs’ that were ‘dubious’ and ‘phony.’” [Think Progress, 09/08/10]
  • …Dismissed Criticisms Of The Oil Industry’s Environmental Record… “Other speakers later dismissed attacks on the oil industry’s safety record, particularly in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. Radio host Matt Patrick called the deepwater drilling moratorium ‘ridiculous’ and compared it to a ban on building houses because one caught on fire. Wright ‘did a quick Google search’ on the oil industry’s safety record and openly wondered why Congress doesn’t ban cars because the number of auto accident deaths far exceeds the number of oil industry deaths.” [Think Progress, 09/08/10]
  • And Falsely Claimed That The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Was “All Gone.” “Wright also gleefully proclaimed that the oil spill is ‘all gone,’ a claim that is easily dispelled with a quick Google search.” [Think Progress, 09/08/10]

The Oil Giant Chevron Is Also “Throwing Its Weight” Behind Energy Citizens By Sending Staff To Its Rallies. “Taking a leaf from the playbook employed by health care reform opponents, the oil industry has put together an ‘Energy Citizens’ movement aimed at derailing climate-change legislation. And San Ramon’s Chevron Corp. is throwing its weight behind the effort. Among the estimated 3,500 ‘energy citizens’ at a Houston rally on Tuesday were Chevron employees and retirees “invited … to participate” by the company, which also provided buses for the estimated 250 to 350 of their number to get there. Chevron had “sent a memo to its downtown Houston employees encouraging them to attend (the) event, so they can be a part of the energy policy discussion,” said company spokesman Morgan Crinklaw.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 08/20/09]

Energy Citizens Urges Voters To Vote For Candidates Who Support The Keystone Pipeline

The American Petroleum Institute Lead Various Energy Citizens Campaigns. “API also led ‘Energy Citizens’ and ‘Vote 4 Energy’ campaigns that paid for billboards and broadcast ads featuring Americans who say that oil and gas are the most important issues this November. The Energy Citizens website features yet another American flag; it asks visitors to ‘Pledge Today’ to vote for candidates who support Keystone and sign up for e-mail alerts to oppose ‘energy taxes,’ API’s deceptive moniker for efforts to end oil company subsidies.” [The Nation08/29/12]

Energy Citizens Ran A Campaign To Promote An Exxon Tar-Sands Pipeline In Maine

Energy Citizens Ran Ads Promoting a Pipeline in Maine in 2014. “The group Energy Citizens, backed by the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s largest trade group, ran ads that said ‘It’s just oil. From Canada.’ The oil companies hired a number of lawyers and brought public relations firms on board.” [Grist07/23/14]

Energy Citizens Uses Social Media –Sometimes Deceptively–  To Promote The Oil Industry And Oppose Regulation

Energy Citizens Advertises Social Media To Oppose Legislation 

Energy Citizens Ran Ads Opposing A Colorado Bill Regulating the Oil and Gas Industry. “Facebook’s Ad Archive, a tool that tracks and discloses political advertising on the social media platform, lists dozens of sponsored posts from astroturf groups like ‘Energy Citizens’ and ‘Energy Nation’ opposing SB 181 over the last few weeks, all of which were paid for by the American Petroleum Institute. The ads recorded millions of impressions and totaled tens of thousands of dollars in spending, according to Facebook estimates.” [Westword03/19/19]

Energy Citizens Advertises Social Media To Promote The Oil Industry 

Energy Citizens Uses Deceptive Social Media Tactics to Build a Network of Supporters. “Like many environmental groups, API uses social media to build a network of supporters…the Facebook sites of Energy Citizens (28,278 ‘like’ this) and EnergyTomorrow (32,877 ‘like’ that) identify themselves simply as nonprofit organizations. Only if readers click on the ‘about’ section do they see ‘the organization is supported by API.” [Washington Post04/07/12]

Energy Citizens Bought Facebook Ads Aimed at Maintaining a Positive Image of the Oil and Gas Industry Among Conservatives. “Under Energy Citizens, a name that API began using in 2009 to organize an ostensible grassroots movement against limits on emissions linked to climate change, the institute spent $260,000 since this May on Facebook ads aimed at people interested in Donald Trump or Sean Hannity. The ads praised oil and gas production for protecting the environment and addressing climate change, supported the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and opposed a nuclear power plant ‘bailout’ in Ohio…Facebook users would have to click through the links on these ads and scroll to the bottom of the websites of Energy Citizens and Explore Offshore Coalition to learn that they are actually linked to the petroleum group.” [Jeremy B. Merrill, “How Big Oil Dodges Facebook’s New Ad Transparency Rules,” Electionland, 11/1/18]

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