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Public Citizen reports on the astroturf rally in Houston

by Mike Gaworecki

August 21, 2009

There’s been a lot of chatter about the American Petroleum Institute’s astroturf campaign to oppose climate legislation ever since the story first broke. Of course, plenty of conservatives, global warming deniers, and representatives for Big Oil have tried to defend the astroturf campaign, claiming that they are just helping facilitate legitimate grassroots activity by scheduling a series of rallies in cities where Big Oil has a strong presence.

But according to Public Citizen folks who managed to get into the campaign’s kickoff event in Houston earlier this week, the word "rally" doesn’t even come close to describing what’s going on here. It’s more like a "company picnic," according to citizensarah of Public Citizen.

Check it out:

Though the Netroots has gotten the message loud and clear: these are really just company picnics, not uprisings of real grassroots support, there has still been some hedging on the part of the traditional media — who is still reporting that many of the people attending the demonstration were employees of oil companies who work in Houston and were bused from their workplaces.“

But the truth is that the Houston rally was attended ONLY by energy company employees and retirees (at least that’s the way they wanted it). It’s no big surprise that a few rabble-rousing enviros were kicked out, but when even those that oppose cap and trade were turned away — that should raise major red flags about the true nature of these events. This isn’t even Astroturf anymore, this is asphalt.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to the anti-cap and trade folks from Freedom Works that were [excluded] from yesterday’s rally:

When you’ve got funding from giant multinational corporations like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and BP, and you aren’t even allowing the general public to attend your events — even when they agree with you, for crying out loud! — then there really is nothing legitimately grassroots about your campaign. Sorry.

If you too are fed up with the deceitful and manipulative tactics employed by Big Oil and want to see a real, intelligent debate about climate policy take place in this country, write to Big Oil now and tell them to stop the lies.

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