ConocoPhillips Road Show is coming to your town:

Jan. 17: Reno, Nev. July 18: Wilmington, Del.

Jan. 31: Edwardsville, Ill. July 25: Anchorage, Alaska
Feb. 1: Charleston, W.Va. July 31: Newport News, Va.
March 22: Jackson, Miss. Aug. 8: Topeka, Kan.
March 29: Louisville, Ky. Aug. 22: Golden, Colo.
April 18: Irvine, Calif. Aug. 28: Tucson, Ariz.
April 26: Rochester, Minn. Sept. 5: New Haven, Conn.
May 1: Huntsville, Ala. Sept. 19: Tallahassee, Fla.
May 16: Scranton, Pa. Sept. 25: Macon, Ga.
May 23: Milwaukee, Wis. Sept. 27: Columbia, Md.
May 30: Akron, Ohio Oct. 3: Lansing, Mich.
June 7: Fort Wayne, Ind. Oct. 11: Baton Rouge, La
June 13: Cheyenne, Wyo. Oct. 17: Syracuse, N.Y.
June 20: Bismarck, N.D. Oct. 24: Columbia, Mo.
June 27: Columbia, S.C. Nov. 7: Waco, Texas
Nov. 14: Tulsa, Okla.

From the Inbox from Green Delaware:

ConocoPhillips Town Hall Meeting — “a conversation on energy”

ConocoPhillips (CP) is a major promoter of “(un)clean coal” gasification technology. CP is one of the few vendors of “gasifier” technology, a key element of the heavily-promoted “new” way to burn coal.

CP is a main technology provider for the proposed Mesaba IGCC project in Northern Minnesota.
Minnesota Administrative Law Judges recently recommended that Mesaba not be approved. Here’s the ALJ decision.

On April 26, in Rochester, MN, CP will sponsor one of a national series of meetings at which the giant oil company will present its present views on US energy policy.

A Conversation on Energy will be hosted by ConocoPhillips and the University
of Minnesota, Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE) and
moderated by Richard “Dick” Hemmingsen, Director of IREE. In addition to
speakers from ConocoPhillips, invited panelists include representatives from
the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and other organizations active in business and industry.

Also see ConocoPhillips Energy Guide.

These “conversations on energy” smell like a public relations campaign by CP and other big fossil fuelers to pretend to do something about global warming, while coopting for-real advocates. They have realized that simple denial won’t work any more and they need a more nuanced line.

Ed Burke, of ConocoPhillips, said that industry researchhas shown “we’ve lost all credibility, we’re at the bottom of the list, below even tobacco!” We’re viewed as caring only about profits and high salaries, and we need to get back in touch with the American people.” He notes that global warming is an issue “and we need to do something about it.” These meetings are not really a hard sell on the company at all. They’re doing meetings in 35 cities, and this is the 11th one. When asked if it has anything to do with the Mesaba Project, he said “absolutely not. It’s about opening a dialog with the Amercan people. It’s about how do we do innovation… new energy solutions…”

Guess? Truly independent voices won’t be prominent at these meetings. We’ll see…

For example, the panelist lineup in Rochester includes:

Loren Abraham of the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society 612.308.4757
Chuck Laszewski of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy 651.223.5969
Edward Garvey, deputy commissioner of the Combined Energy and Telecommunications division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce
Bob Ridge, CP, Vice-President for Health, Safety and Environmental
Sabrina Watkins, CP, Manager, Advanced Technology

Carol Overland has been a key opponent of IGCC projects. She commented:

“ConocoPhillips is a technology provider for coal gasification projects such as Mesaba. The same technology is utilized at the Wabash River plant that has been such a disaster both economically and environmentally. They are choosing to do a road show at this time when the Mesaba project is going down in flames, and that they are featuring Ed Garvey, a top energy official in Governor Pawlenty’s administration. I’m concerned they are trying to grease the skids for Excelsior Energy, the Mesaba promoters, contrary to the recommendations of the judges assigned to the case. It’s noteworthy that they have scheduled stops in other locations where IGCC projects are proposed, such as Delaware, Alaska, West Virginia, Indiana, New York, Texas, and Arizona. How can it be anything other than a promotional road show?”

Overland is concerned about the participation of representatives of the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. “MCEA was ineffective and lackadaisical in opposing the Mesaba Project.”*   Why is MCEA now cooperating with ConocoPhillips? Thankfully, Fresh Energy [ formerly Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy] had the sense to turn this “opportunity” down.”

Doug Shoemaker
, Co-Chair of the participating Minnesota Renewable Energy Society had some concerns: “… at least on the surface it looks good,” but “we’ve got … [questions] … hanging over our heads.”

Chuck Laszewski
of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy told us: “We thought about it in some depth because were concerned that it could be seen as some sort of greenwashing.” But on balance, MCEA concluded that it would be “a worthwhile opportunity to get our opinions out.”

Corporations are usually more sophisticated than community-based advocacy groups. Is CP successfully using orgs in Minnesota and elsewhere to greenwash itself? Or are these meetings indeed a “worthwhile opportunity?”

We can’t judge doings in Minnesota, but in Delaware many orgs would be flattered to be invited, would crave the exposure, and would hop on board without intelligently considering the consequences of their actions.

The CP road show is scheduled to come to Wilmington, Delaware, on July 18, 2007.

Alan Muller

Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA

* Ineffective and lackidasical?  Isn’t that a bit harsh?  Well, considering that they presented only a CO2 case, did not deal with the economics of the project, and did not participate in any of the kick ass motions flying around, didn’t argue to free information up to the public and didn’t know that we’d won those motions, didn’t even submit a Summary Motion of any sort… and then there’s this, released last week, knowing that the decision turned on choice of fuel, unreasonable cost and broad emissions non-performance:

“Had the Excelsior proponents made a clear commitment to carbon capture and storage in a reasonable time after it was built, we might have had a different view as to whether the project should go forward,” said Bill Grant, associate executive director of Izaak Walton League of America.

Here’s last week’s MCEA Press Release. 

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