TOWN HALL TACTICS COMING TO THE ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL FIGHT
Lobby Groups to Use Town Hall Tactics to Oppose Climate Bill
Ian Talley, August 11, 2009 (Wall Street Journal)
'Energy Citizens' Take Aim at Climate Legislation
Alex Kaplun, August 12, 2009 (NY Times)
With health care in spotlight, climate push continues backstage
Alex Kaplun, August 7, 2009 (E&E Publishing)
A coalition of business and industry groups is backing an effort to disrupt and control the dialogue at encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.
Now familiar shouting and pouting tactics will be used by EnergyCitizens funded and organized by professionals in the employ of the business and industry coalition at the forums that once marked the pinnacle of U.S. democracy, the town hall meeting.
Members of the business/industry coalition funding and organizing the effort: the American Petroleum Institute, the American Farm Bureau, the American Highway Users Alliance, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
Participating conservative advocacy organizations: the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and FreedomWorks.
Carbon tax advocating progressive environmentalists will no doubt be thrilled to see their allies in the EnergyCitizen movement marching at the offices of Senator Jim Webb (D-Vir), chanting “No Cap and Trade!” From EnergyCitizens via YouTube.
Reportedly, the first of 20 planned events at which EnergyCitizens will make their presences known and their outraged voices heard will be in Houston, Texas, on August 18. The group intends to continue its effort through Labor Day, while members of Congress are in their home districts conducting meetings designed to communicate with and get feedback from their constituents.
EnergyCitizens exercising their right to speak out whether they know what they're talking about or not. (click to enlarge)
When the Senate and House of Representatives reconvene in September, they will continue work on crucial and potentially landmark climate and energy legislation. (See WILL THERE BE CAP&TRADE? EnergyCitizen rallies will reportedly confront Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in New Mexico, as well as Senators and other political leaders whose votes are thought to be at play and pivotal in the battle over the legislation, at meetings in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other Midwestern and Southern states.
This EPA study showed GDP growth is relatively unharmed by cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)
Even at the height of the rudest of the left’s crazy protests against Presidents Johnson, Nixon and George W. Bush, the majority of protestors respected the sanctity of rational dialogue at public meetings designed to facilitate it. When it went out into the streets, that was a different matter played by a different set of rules.
Sadly, the current agitators at gatherings to discuss health insurance reform are bringing the street brawls into the forum for ideas and solutions because they aren't seeking solutions but disruptions. They have created a new term of art for the destruction of reasonable discussion: Town Hall Tactics.
The EnergyCitizen message: More oil. From Energy Tomorrow.
It is something of an irony that many of the same people who ridiculed President Obama’s early experience as a community organizer have become vigorous community organizers in a effort to combat the health insurance reform plans and energy and climate legislation that have become central to the Obama Presidency.
Cathy Landry, spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute (API), is a good example. API was not an Obama endorser but Ms. Landry appears consumed with being as effective a community organzier as the President once was as she helps organize the EnergyCitizens group created by the peetroleum industry and others to propagate the most current iteration of the “drill, baby, drill” illusion.
Landry and her cohorts have admitted publicly they are not going after the specifics of the climate legislation but will instead demand whatever they think might be a good idea, much like the anti-health insurance reform movement has largely spent time and energy attacking proposals that don’t exist in an effort to block legislation that has not yet been written.
The CBO study showed household costs rise slowly and moderately with cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)
Reportedly, the organizers of the EnergyCitizen movement are not so much using grass roots passion to educate voters about the pending legislation as to encourage them to demand their elected representatives “get it right” in whatever way the EnergyCitizens see fit.
Indicative of the kind of tactics the anti-cap&trade groups prefer was the recently exposed fraud perpetrated by coal lobbyists Bonner and Associates. Just before the final House of Representatives vote on its energy and climate bill, the lobbyists obtained stationery from Creciendo Juntos, a non-profit Hispanic group whose opinion on such a matter is likely to carry more weight than that of a known coal advocate. On copies of the stolen stationery, Bonner operatives forged letters to House lawmakers demanding they vote against the legislation. (See COAL CAUGHT SENDING LYING LETTERS TO CONGRESS)
Sierra Club says "Liar, liar, pants on fire." (click to enlarge)
A flyer being distributed to participants claims the energy/climate legislation will cost 2 million jobs, increase gas pump prices to over $4 per gallon and compromise both U.S. business competitiveness and energy security. In fact, studies from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy and the Pew Center all show the costs will be manageable, business competitiveness will be protected and moving to domestic New Energy sources will increase energy security.
The Pew Center study shows employment is only slowly and moderately affected by cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)
If the fireworks set off by the EnergyCitizens aren’t enough, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), coal’s biggest lobby and the group that is on record as saying it advocates clean coal not because it is achievable but because it is the only way to block the true grassroots movement to end the tyranny of coal’s spew, is reportedly rallying almost a quarter million of its soldiers to exercise further town hall conversation interventions.
The Pew Center study shows manufacturing is also only slowly and moderately affected. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)
At least 2 legitimate grassroots groups of some standing, the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance, will be rallying members and attempting to deliver actual, unpaid, unscripted opinion about the climate and energy bill to their elected representatives.
The EIA study showed electricity costs rise slowly and moderately thru 2020 with cap&trade. The costs of not stopping climate change will be much higher. (click to enlarge)
- Cathy Landry, spokeswoman, API: "A lot of it is still up in the air…For the most part, we're just looking for diversity and to let people know that energy is important everywhere in this nation and energy jobs are important."
- Lauren Weiner, spokeswoman, Americans United for Change: “We turn things around pretty quickly, and should the need come up, we'll do paid media…”
- David Foster, executive director, Blue Green Alliance: "We may at some point be doing some paid advertising, but a period like the recess is opportunity for members of Congress to be back and hear some real-world arguments…"
This is what's at stake. Pick sides wisely. From greenforall via YouTube.
- Landry, on the comparison of the groups at the health insurance town hall meetings and the EnergyCitizens she is organizing: "I don't think they're at all the same thing…We're not trying to go up and yell at members of Congress, we're just trying to allow people to voice their concerns…It's more about energizing people and getting people excited and letting them know that other people know the same way and have similar concerns about American jobs."
- Frank O’Donnell, head, Clean Air Watch: “We’ve all seen those angry folks raising heck about health care…So I guess it was inevitable a special interest would try the same thing on the climate legislation…”
- David Willett, spokesman, Sierra Club: "Using fake grass roots damages everybody…I think it makes it difficult for everybody to do their jobs."