The American Petroleum Institute is reaching out to Hispanic and African-American communities, including Puerto Ricans displaced last year by Hurricane Maria, hoping to convince them that Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling will bring them a big influx of well-paying jobs.
The Explore Offshore program is also the API’s attempt “to counter offshore drilling foes in coastal southeast states from Virginia to Florida, where lawmakers and governors on both sides of the aisle have expressed fear an oil spill could ruin tourism,” Reuters reports. “As part of the campaign, API has partnered with a number of black and Hispanic business groups, including the Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. and the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce.”
“We want to build support in minority communities because the message that increasing the supply of affordable energy and good paying jobs will resonate,” said Erik Milito, API’s director of upstream and industry operations.
“Pew Research poll published in January showed that 56% of Hispanics and 54% of blacks opposed offshore drilling, compared to 48% of white people,” Reuters states. “A study released in March by Oceana, an Ocean conservancy group, found [the U.S. Department of] Interior’s offshore drilling plan would put more than 2.6 million jobs and nearly US$180 billion in gross domestic product at risk for only two years’-worth of oil and just over one year’s-worth of gas at current consumption.”