Evidently, the fossil fuel industry is awash in an endless supply of money, a vast underground reservoir of oily cash, which they can tap to try to persuade you and me that they are our very good friends and acting in our best interests.
Modern digital printing makes it possible for national magazines to carry different ads in copies delivered to different parts of the country. I assume that’s why I’m seeing so many oil industry magazine ads these days–they’re trying to influence public opinion here in New York State, where political decisions are being made about what restrictions to impose on hydrofracking.
It’s pretty scary that multinational energy corporations have the ability to flood our consciousness with propaganda and to buy access to and influence over our elected officials. Scary not because they’re evil, but because they are corporations. Their purpose is to do what is best for their bottom line. Not what’s best for the environment, for jobs, for people, for communities.
But, oddly, I stumbled on some encouraging news at dirtyenergymoney.org, a web site that tracks fossil fuel industry money going to politicians. The site shows how much money Congressional Reps and Senators have been given, but also shows whether they have voted for the energy industry or for the public interest on a number of bills. When I plug in my zip code (14609) and look at our local reps, money received seems to correlate with time in office and whether they’re in the Senate or House. So Chuck Schumer has raked in the most oil money. BUT there’s no correlation between donations received and votes. All the Democrats (Schumer, Gillibrand, Slaughter) have perfect voting records (at least as rated by the environmental groups that sponsor the site.) And, conversely, Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY25) has a perfectly awful record, voting again and again to cripple the EPA and protect tax breaks for the industry.
So, maybe money can’t buy everything.