Activists criticize pro-oil rallies

08/20/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Next Thursday in Ybor City, a rally is being organized by Energy Citizens, a pro-oil, anti-cap-and-trade group.

The first of at least 20 such rallies was held earlier this week in Houston. As has reported by various alternative media sources, the campaign is organized by the American Petroleum Institute, working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

In all, there are over 100 state and national trade groups representing the oil, gas, coal and agribusiness industries, as well as conservative organinzations, supporting Energy Citizens.

Eric Maltzer is the former environmental strategist in the Boston office of Esty Environmental Partners. He mentioned last year’s political conventions, saying they demonstrated a clear difference in energy philosophy, from the ‘drill, baby, drill’ mantra expressed in St. Paul, vs. Barack Obama’s call for investing $150 billion dollars into green energy over 10 years. Maltzer is critical of Energy Citizens.

Organizers with Energy Citizens say their events are not designed to oppose the climate legislation that passed the House earlier this summer, but rather to highlight flaws in the bill and recommend steps that the Senate should take to fix the measure.

Energy Citizens held a protest meeting last week in Houston, which Maltzer said is also home to Horizon Wind, one of the world’s largest wind companies.

Operation Free is comprised of veterans who say it is a matter of national security that America free itself of its dependency on foreign oil. Jon Powers with the Truman National Security Project was asked if the economic argument that the America Petroleum Institute is advocating trumps the call for national security.

Energy Citizens will hold a rally next Thursday at the Ritz Theatre in Ybor City, beginning at 12 noon.

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