Opinion

Enviros note: Coalitions aren’t conspiracies

Some of our worthy opponents in the environmental community have been circulating a presentation I gave to a gathering in Seattle recently in which we discussed the many coalitions and partnerships with whom WSPA is working to effectively represent the petroleum industry in the western United States.

I find it fascinating that a handful of gullible news reporters have been convinced this was a “leaked” document that reveals WSPA’s secret formula for world domination.

The groups or individuals peddling this ridiculous story are threatened by the growing chorus of voices that are raising questions about climate change policies

The truth is, the presentation in question was given to a public gathering and provided to individuals who requested it – a regular transparent practice we employ at WSPA.  The fact we are engaged in partnerships with a large array of business and consumer coalitions isn’t a secret to anyone familiar with our active engagement on behalf of our members in all of the states for which are responsible.

What is revealing is the amount of effort apparently being expended to convince the media and others that the groups in question don’t have a legitimate and vital interest in the issues we are addressing together.

Apparently, the groups or individuals peddling this ridiculous story are threatened by the growing chorus of voices that are raising questions about climate change policies being pursued in California, Washington and Oregon in a way that could achieve climate change goals and minimize unnecessary costs  As states become more aggressive in their approach to climate change, the impact of their policy choices reaches farther into the economies of each state – and even into the pockets of individual consumers.

Few industries face the breadth of public policy issues we confront on a daily basis.

Rather than confront this reality with honest and transparent argument and dialogue, these groups prefer to skulk about in the shadows and attack the legitimacy of voices with whom they disagree.

WSPA has never been a shy or reluctant partner with business groups, consumers and individuals who share our concerns about energy policies.  We have included in numerous public presentations the same list of groups with whom we are working, some of whom we support financially.  WSPA has also never been shy about engaging with the environmental community and other stakeholders who hold different views than our own to strike compromise and chart a path forward together. We continue to invite anyone to that conversation.

And there are, by necessity, many groups with whom we are working.  Few industries face the breadth of public policy issues we confront on a daily basis – from issues that impact the costs and availability of fuel for everyone, to domestic oil production and energy independence, and to our ability to transport that essential source of energy on rail cars and other time-tested means of transport.

Climate change policies will impact everyone – families, individuals, communities and companies – and far too many of them have been left entirely out of the discussion and debate surrounding these issues.

Our partnerships and support for many of these groups is intended to bring those other points of view into the discussion.  They have a right to be heard and to be considered when legislative and regulatory bodies are contemplating actions that will directly impact their ability to thrive and survive.

And that is what appears to be so troubling to the groups who support climate change policies regardless of whether those policies are feasible or effective.

WSPA has always recognized the urgent need to address climate change, including the role that fossil fuels play in global warming.  But that, of course, has never been the question.  The question is what to do about it – how to transition to a lower carbon energy future without unnecessarily harming our economies, our businesses and our citizens.

That is a very complex question to answer and one we as representatives of energy providers are prepared to tackle with open and honest discussion and debate.  And that requires others to come out of the shadows and engage in that debate rather than attacking the debaters.

Ed’s Note: Catherine Reheis-Boyd is the president of the Western States Petroleum Association.

 


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