Yesterday, with little fanfare the United State’s offshore drilling moratorium was quietly lifted by Secretary Ken Salazar. Six months after the worst oil spill in US history oil companies will return to drilling in what was referred to as the “wild west” of oil exploration. No company has more interest in Gulf drilling than Chevron. Chevron is owner of nearly half of all drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and has surely played a large behind the scenes roll in the lifting of the drilling moratorium. While Chevron has been working back room deals in the Gulf they have also been putting the spotlight on their public face as well.
Major concerns where exposed around Chevron’s newest Gulf Coast public facing campaign. Chevron’s campaign is a partnership with the NBA team New Orleans Hornets called “Believe in Blue”. The campaign said to raise funds for Gulf coast restoration and communities will be selling blue livestrong-like blue bracelets at their gas stations.
“By selling these $2 wristbands under the guise of wetland conservation, Chevron is essentially charging the public for the perpetuation of its own greenwashing efforts,” said Maria Ramos of Rainforest Action Network, a group opposing Chevron’s efforts. “Chevron is manipulating the public’s concern about BP oil spill impacts to conceal the impacts of its own destruction.”
The most shocking part of Chevron’s campaign is the where the funds are going. One recipient, The America’s WETLAND Foundation, was formed by Shell Oil in 2002 with support from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, and the American Petroleum Institute. Most all partners of this foundation have launched major PR campaigns advocating for offshore oil drilling, deregulation of the oil industry, and has even called on tax payers to foot the bill for the BP oil spill.
The Hornets who have often played a vital role in community spirit and resolve in this unprecedented oil spill, and no doubt have good intentions of rebuilding gulf economies to be better than they were before. However most people supporting the campaign by buying braclets have no idea were their donations were going. That why the Change Chevron Team showed up At yesterdays Hornets game – game sponsored by Chevron – to highlight Chevron disingenuous greenwash.
As fans lined the arena to enter the arena a banner was unfurled above reading “don’t believe Chevron’s greenwash”, having just listened to a Hornets representative explain Chevron’s role in the campaign from a stage the message was lost on no one who saw the banner. I addition to the banner hundreds of “don’t believe Chevron’s greenwash” green bracelets were passed out with information on the company the Hornets were partnering with.
It didn’t take long for the Hornets organization to escort the bracelets off the property, but after purchasing a ticket to the game the bracelets ended up showing up all over the inside of the arena. The overall tone of the folks receiving the braclets was positive it seemed clear that Hornets fans wanted more from their team nad most all thought they could do better in a partnership than teaming with Chevron. We’ll have to see if the Hornets listen to their fans.