It is never good when your leader is compared to Lord Voldemort, the evil “Dark Lord” of the Harry Potter series. Yet, that’s how one oil industry insider describes Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute (API) according to a recent Washington Post profile.
The Post profile details Gerard’s long history as an anti-environmental, pro-pollution advocate. He previously worked for for Sen. James A. McClure, one of only 11 senators to vote against the overwhelmingly bipartisan and popular Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He then worked for the National Mining Association and the American Chemical Coalition, two groups not exactly known in Washington for their strong advocacy of worker and public health.
Now Gerard has taken the helm and steered API toward a less factual, more political advocacy agenda. The group has already bought at least $4.3 million in broadcast ads this year. These ads tend to target politicians who dare suggest that drilling should be done safely or that innovative clean energy startups might need tax breaks more than highly profitable oil companies. API’s advocacy often hides in small print attached to groups with more appealing names like “Energy Nation,” “Energy Citizens,” “EnergyTomorrow,” “Vote4Energy,” or the “Coalition for American Jobs.”
Just like Voldemort, Gerard is a formidable foe. He’s got powerful allies and strong weapons (in Voldemort’s case, magic; in Gerard’s, lots of cash) on his side. But – spoiler alert – in the end, Harry Potter and the powers of good defeat Voldemort. It’s a reminder to clean energy advocates not to give up. In the end, we too can defeat You-Know-Who.