The Thompson Divide Coalition wasn’t the only group to launch a PR campaign last week.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Western Energy Alliance, an energy industry advocacy organization, has launched a series of videos entitled “Common Ground” that are “designed to inform the public about how western oil and natural gas producers are providing abundant, affordable energy for Americans while protecting the environment,” according to a statement from WEA.
The first video, with the oxymoronic title Developing Energy, Protecting the Land, only lasts a minute and a half because when it comes to reclamation, the industry doesn’t have much to show for itself.
In what can only be described as a karmic twist of fate, WEA shone the spotlight on the reclamation issue to launch their PR campaign during the same week—perhaps even the same day—the COGCC released its report of the leaking abandoned wellhead buried in a pasture in DeBeque.
Leave it to a pro-industry group to show you a pond, native grasses, and wildflowers on one ranch and call it reclamation. Leave it to Mother Nature to belch forth the ugly truth about reclamation.
Of course in his statement, WEA President Tim Wigley didn’t mention reclamation. Instead he attacked environmentalists. Blaming consumers for your bad reputation is not a very effective corporate PR strategy.
“The environmental lobby often presents the public with a false choice — either the environment or affordable energy,” said Tim Wigley, president of WEA, according to the statement.
“Their answer is scarcity — we must have less domestic energy development in order to protect the environment,” Wigley added. “Meanwhile, the oil and natural gas industry has responded to every environmental challenge, developing technologies that have unlocked huge new American energy supplies while significantly reducing environmental impact.”
No. The answer is abundance. Environmentalists insist we have an abundance of solar and wind power, which are currently underdeveloped, and in areas where they have been developed these energy resources are under-utilized because the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support them because the oil & gas lobby prevents governments from funding alternative resources.
The video format was chosen, Haubert [Jon Haubert public affairs spokesman for WEA] said, because “We (and I think others do, too,) feel that video is one of the best mediums to show/tell our story. A picture says 1,000 words, right?”
Absolutely. And every picture tells a story, don’t it? These next four pictures pretty much say it all.
Maybe I’m missing something but where is the reclamation here?Or what about here?
Any reclamation here?Nope, not here either. Ross Lane, director of the new Western Values Project, pointed out the hypocrisy of the WEA’s video campaign.
“I think Western Energy Alliance is spending money to tell people they are protecting the environment,” said Ross Lane, director of a new conservation group called Western Values Project, an offshoot of the Checks & Balances Project, another watchdog organization.
But, Lane added, “I think Coloradans are sick of campaign-style rhetoric and P.R. spin” about the industry’s effects on land and communities.
He said that the drilling companies who support the WEA “are polluting their [Colorado residents’] air and their water, without taking responsibility for the damage they do.”
Rather than accept the videos’ contention that the industry is “reducing [the] environmental impact” of its activities, Lane said of Coloradans, “They’ll believe it when they see it.”
The problem is, the WEA’s has taken on a comprehensive and complex issue – reclamation – and tried to portray it like this:
Since they brought it up this is as good a time as any to look at oil & gas reclamation, especially with the sludge monster bubbling up in DeBeque. I’m still doing research and the issue deserves its own post. Send your links to reclamation disasters to me: email@example.com
In the meantime, WEA released their second video, Water.