Americans United for Change released an ad campaign Monday to highlight the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill and "condemn the oil industry's proneness to disaster that seems to have only gotten worse the past five years."
"While BP airs their own ads congratulating themselves for their cleanup efforts despite the lingering economic and environmental fallout in the Gulf region, AUFC is kicking off Earth Day week with a message that the Deepwater Horizon disaster was only a drop in the bucket for an industry responsible for 14,000 oil spills every year. The message to lawmakers: Don't help make a bigger mess by repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) or denying consumers the choice of cleaner alternatives like ethanol at the pump," reads an announcement on the campaign.
The ad campaign features a one-page ad in the Chicago Sun-Times and TV ads in Chicago and Des Moines, IA. The Chicago ad targeted city lawmakers, which delayed action on the E15 Clean Air Ordinance at the end of 2014. The ordinance would require many gas stations in the city to carry E15, a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol opposed to the typical 10 percent, as an option for drivers. The Chicago ad cab be seen here. The Iowa ad is directed at 2016 presidential candidates.
"It comes down to this: the more Big Oil drills, the more they spill. If lawmakers discourage innovation towards cleaner renewable fuels of tomorrow, Big Oil will only be encouraged to drill, and spill, more," said Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, an environmental group that unveiled a campaign to support the RFS in 2013. "Over the last five years, ethanol has made up 10 percent of our nation's fuel supply, and the ethanol produced last year displaced over 500 million barrels of crude oil that would've otherwise been used to make gasoline. When consumers have more choice of cleaner, cheaper and safer renewable fuels like ethanol at the pump, it means less demand for gasoline made from dirty oil.
"It's like preventative medicine for the environment," he added. "But if our leaders take steps backward towards more dirty oil consumption - by gutting the RFS or denying consumers cleaner choices - it would lead to even more accidents and spills resulting from fossil fuel extraction and transportation. Haven't we been polluted enough? 5 years and 70,000 spills later, the BP disaster anniversary should serve as a sobering reminder to our leaders that our nation's dependence on oil takes a terrible toll on the Earth and its inhabitants. It's a reminder why we can't turn our back on renewable fuels that have been a win-win-win for the environment, for public safety, and the economy."
The ad campaign is part of the launch of a new website called Rare Incidents, which will be a home for info on oil-related disasters and info on the group's latest efforts.