Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The Sierra Club rolled out a new radio ad campaign this weekend that aims to defend Democrats who are being hammered for not supporting efforts to open more areas to oil drilling.

Sixty-second ads being aired in six states ask listeners to call and thank these members of Congress for “standing up to the oil companies”: Reps. Chris Carney (D-Pa.), Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.).

The text of the “Rolling in It” ads:

“All this week, you’ll be hearing about the billions of dollars in record high profits the Big Oil companies are making. They’re raking it in while we’re feeling the pain of $4-a-gallon gas,” the ads say. “Let’s face it — Big Oil has our economy, our energy policies, and our politics in a stranglehold. But Congress still has a chance to break that hold, to pass legislation that provides price relief and helps hard-working families instead of the oil industry. Call [Congresswoman/man X at X]. Thank [her/him] for standing up to the oil companies. Ask [her/him] to keep voting to end the billions in government giveaways to Big Oil, to crack down on the price gouging that’s keeping gas prices so high, and to invest in renewable energy and give consumers more, cleaner energy choices.”

The Sierra Club chose to feature these members of Congress because they’ve come under attack in ads and robo-calls from pro-drilling groups, said Sierra Club spokesperson Josh Dorner. “It’s important for the public to know that these members are standing strong against Big Oil and its backers in Congress,” he said. “We hope the public will join us in telling these members to keep doing the right thing.”

The ads coincide with this week’s expected announcements of second-quarter profits from oil companies. ConocoPhilips has already announced the highest quarterly profit in its history: $5.44 billion. BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron are slated to announce their profits later this week. Congress, meanwhile, is struggling to push through some sort of energy legislation before August recess begins next week.

Hear the ads, which will run through Aug. 1, here: Arizona, California, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.