George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Not all ads are ads

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

Not all ads are ads

Some so-called ads are really propaganda in disguise. A good example of this is an announcement currently running from The American Petroleum Institute. It shows a middle age couple. The wife is complaining about a high electric bill and suggesting that if only they had greater access to natural gas, they would enjoy lower bills. He chimes in about gas that’s available “a few states away” if only there were pipelines to bring it closer. No mention, of course, of the many disasters that pipelines create for the communities they cross.

Having witnessed a pipeline battle in my own community recently, it is stunning to see the hubris with which the oil and gas industry believe they are entitled to construct a pipeline any place they wish. The answer here fortunately was, no, they can’t. As the struggle at Standing Rock, as well as our local fight has shown, pipelines bring with them a plethora of problems starting with what should be an unacceptable challenge to the environment. First there’s the long range contribution to global warming that fossil fuels represent, whether it’s considered a “clean” fuel or not.

Then there’s the damage to the environment that the construction itself causes. Pipeline companies bulldoze their way through towns, upending people’s lives, trashing property values, endangering people’s health, and threatening the safety of nearby schools and residents. In some communities they take people’s property from them by “eminent domain.” (Hint: They try not to pay for the whole property, but only for the measured portion the pipeline will actually pass over or through). They frequently represent a danger to one or more of the aquifers they are likely to pass near, not to mention wildlife they’re perfectly willing to destroy. Pipelines frequently require monster compression stations on longer routes to keep the gas moving at full volume. Trust me, you don’t want to live near one.

Then when you’ve fought those battles for about five years, consider the fact that the pipeline is most likely delivering gas to a depot for export, not to your local utility, so you won’t benefit from any of the so-called benefits. Then while you’re about it, check the Wikipedia listing of pipeline explosions in the 21st century. Keep all that in mind next time you see those two sweet folks discussing their electric bill.

Keep clickin’…

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