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Houston rally focuses on climate change

August 19, 2009
Hundreds of people showed up in Houston Tuesday for a lunchtime rally that served as a celebration of the oil and natural gas industry and a protest against Washington's energy policies.

The event was organized by Energy Citizens, a group backed by the American Petroleum Institute.

This was the first of a series of about 20 rallies planned for Southern and oil-producing states to organize resistance to proposed legislation that would set a limit on emissions of heat-trapping gases, requiring many companies to buy emission permits.

From the New York Times:

For its part, the oil industry plans to raise the pressure in coming weeks through its public rallies so that it can negotiate more favorable terms in the Senate than it got in the House. The strategy was outlined by the American Petroleum Institute in a memorandum sent to its members, which include Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. The memorandum, not meant for the public, was obtained by the environmental group Greenpeace last week.

“It’s a clear political hit campaign,” said Kert Davies, the research director at Greenpeace.

In the memorandum, the president and chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack N. Gerard, said that the aim of the rallies was to send a “loud message” to the Senate. He said the rallies should focus on higher energy costs and jobs. “It’s important that our views be heard,” Mr. Gerard wrote.

Cathy Landry, a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute, confirmed the contents of the memorandum, but said that the rally was not strictly an institute event and that Energy Citizens included other organizations representing farm and other business interests.

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