The American Gas Association is creating an “astroturf” group to counter growing public opposition to local fracking and gas pipeline projects, Huffington Post reports.
“It’s crucial for the companies behind these front groups to portray normal community activism as somehow abhorrent or portray it as something other than what it is,” said Jesse Coleman, who researches fracking politics for Greenpeace USA. “You can’t really win when your opposition just wants to keep their kids healthy, so you have to make them into some sort of bogeyman.”
The gas association is rolling out a series of state-level organizations under the common name Your Energy, HuffPost reports. An unpaid spokesperson at an event co-sponsored by the new group in Virginia described it as having been “created to raise the energy IQ of Virginians about the many benefits of natural gas. And to try to follow on these radical and uniformed elements within your communities that try to intimidate or shut down pro-energy supporters.”
“The whole principle behind Your Energy is that we reject the false choice of an opposition movement that believes keeping natural resources in the ground is the only solution to climate change,” said American Gas Association President and CEO Dave McCurdy. “That’s not just a false choice; it’s a dangerous choice.”