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The siren song of big oil

Published: Tue, November 9, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

The siren song of big oil

Big oil companies and their allies don’t know when to stop. This fall, we’ve seen new television and radio ads that are paid for by fossil fuel companies and other big business groups. And the purpose of these ads is simple: to spread lies and misinformation in order to protect their billions in profits.

To finance these ads, corporations set up front groups with innocent-sounding names. For example, there’s Americans for Prosperity, funded by the oil refinery and pipeline company Koch Industries.

In order to spread their lies, these groups are spending millions on advertising. Americans for Prosperity has spent more than $6 million on advertising since 2009. The American Petroleum Institute has spent more than $65 million. BP has spent more than $110 million.

These are groups that have a financial interest in keeping us dependent on fossil fuels. The oil companies want us to keep spending a billion dollars a day on foreign oil so we can fund other countries that wish us harm. They want us to fall behind China in the global race to develop clean energy.

Oil companies and their corporate allies have a lot of money to spend on advertising, but we don’t have to listen to them. It’s time to call out these messengers of misinformation for the big oil and fossil fuel profiteers that they are.

Cherise Benton, Youngstown


1Traveler(606 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

We are dependent on oil because of the way we chose to live as Americans not because of some huge conspiracy on the part of big oil. Face it most Americans love big trucks.

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2Woody(469 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

We try to drill for our own oil here, but people like Cherise keep getting in the way.

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3Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Guys like Traveler and Woody would have invested in buggy whips a hundred years ago. Oil will become the horse and carriage of the 21st Century.

Besides pollution and the fact that we send most oil money overseas, threre are also social spin offs. Hopefully neither of them has had to put a life on the line defending oil interests.

Most of the multinational oil companies are and have been foreign (Saudi, BP, Royal Dutch) dominated for years and when large American shareholders like the Rockefellers have tried to get Exxon to diversify into alternatives, they are outvoted by foreign interests.

We have enough cheap domestic shale gas to switch our entire trucking fleet to a cleaner burning natural gas, which is more efficient than diesel, but the big oil companies as yet do not dominate this market and will never permit extension of wide spread use of competitive fuel withouht a fight.

We also have the capacity to convert coal to diesel, create biodiesel from waste, and if I were governor of Kansas, Iowa, etc, every new car sold in my state would be FFV capable, as the spinoff would create more demand for domestic products. Maybe Ohio should be in that category.

In the past couple of years, gas drilling has added about 40,000 jobs to the Pennsylvania economy alone. It should be able to to extend to the Valley, which definately is underlain by the same Marcellus Shield that generates Pennsylvania economic expansion.

Meanwhile, the cost of solar and wind is dropping like a rock.


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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I applaud you for your stand Cherise . Now to be certain that you are not just a powder puff I have some questions .

1. Have you gotten rid of your car ?

2. Have you taken out your gas furnace , water heater and cookstove ?

3. Have you removed the electric lines from your house ?

All of the above steps are necessary to eliminate usage of fossil fuels .

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5shepolitico(4 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I know Cherise and she lives a lifestyle that is very sustainable compared to most people!!! She is just pointing out that there is a real effort to distract the public with misleading information and outright lies at times by industries that benefit from our addiction to oil and other non-renewable energy sources. The point is that we need to see through the big $$$$$ advertising and seek ways to create more renewable energy sources. We need to fund research and development to further renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies. Don't tell me that the government should stay out of creating clean energy either! "An examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process." (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/bus...)

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6cambridge(3335 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I live in Alameda California an island in the San Francisco Bay that has the oldest municipally owned and run electric power company in the country. The electricity it produces is 80% clean and renewable.

My electric bill runs less than $25 a month. The city doesn't have any 10 million dollar CEO's or millionaire upper management just public works. I know that makes my town "progressive and socialist" but somehow we live with it.


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7Traveler(606 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

@ Cambridge i looked it up my power made from mostly coal is cheap then you power made from renewables. My power cost 6.21 cent a kWh yours start at 10.02. I can heat or cool my house for almost half. But where that really makes a differences is some of the small manufacturing company that are still left around Youngstown. You know the ones that have a 5 or 6 grand power bill that are still left in USA. If they where get power from your renewable that would cost them double. But im sure china would love to have them. So who cares if they cant afford there power bill and have to lay people off.

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8cambridge(3335 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Traveler.....Your theory that clean and green is bad for business doesn't hold up.

The San Francisco Bay area is the greenest part of the greenest state.

The Bay Area economy dwarfs those of most nations. Here are the numbers:

Annual GDP: $420 billion

Ranking: 25th largest economy, ahead of Austria, Taiwan, Greece and Denmark.

Per capita GDP: $60,667, is higher than any other region of California and would rank among the top five countries in the world - ahead of the United States and Singapore.

Corporate headquarters: 7 percent of Fortune's Global 500 companies are here, second only to New York.

Source: Bay Area Economic Institute, World Bank, Fortune

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9lemongrovecafe(18 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

We can also attest that Cherise is a woman of her word, and practices what she preaches. And she is preaching the truth!

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