The Other Side: Explore Offshore, Big Oil Front Group

The Other Side: Explore Offshore, Big Oil Front Group

Since the push to open the Atlantic Coast to offshore oil and gas drilling has run into serious opposition from the real grassroots America, Big Oil has decided to launch another artificial turf group: “Explore Offshore.”

This front group was just rolled out last week by its creator, the American Petroleum Institute (API). It’s billed by its industry parent as a “diverse” coalition of more than a hundred groups, businesses, and individuals in the South Atlantic states from Virginia to Florida. In fact, it’s populated by right-leaning political entities such as the Conservative Action Fund; business entities like Environmental Standards (a services firm with ties to the oil, gas, coal, and utilities industries); and other entities like North Carolina’s own notorious Civitas Institute (anti-regulatory “think tank” and regular critic of efforts to address climate change).

The North Carolina chair of Explore Offshore is Nat Robertson, who was defeated in his re-election bid for mayor of Fayetteville by almost 20 percentage points last November. Robertson is the title author of an article pitching the group and pumping for offshore drilling. It ran in June 9’s Winston-Salem Journal and is likely being flogged to other outlets around the state. Curiously, the article makes no mention of the group’s creation by the oil and gas industry itself. That’s surely because they’re well aware that revealing the connection would implode any public credibility for its message. Conservationists shouldn’t let our communities be fooled.

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