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The NoDOG Memo

This copy of an anonymous memo received by a trusted source in late 2006
is archived here to provide important background for a critical national issue.
The Green Tracking Library makes no claim for its validity.
This Memo has been denied by green groups allegedly involved in the issue.
Predictions of green group actions that the memo contains have proven to be correct
at the time of posting (November 2008).

See the groups killing American energy! Go to The NoDOG Cluster

The "NoDOG Memo"

Grassroots Opposition to Oil and Exploration and Production In the U.S. West (2007-2008).

A large coalition of NGOs has coalesced around a six year strategy to reform the operations of the oil and gas industry in the United States. This strategy includes the current emphasis on climate change but increasingly will focus on oil and gas operations in the U.S. West. The highlight of the activities in the coming years will be an overarching, multi-issue strategy focused on terrestrial oil and gas operations.

Two major elements of the strategy will focus on New Mexico, where Governor Richardson has hinted that he will run for the Presidency in 2008. Environmentalists believe that they build campaigns that play into Richardson's ambitions and win support for numerous state-wide initiatives that would hamper oil and gas development in the state. Winning specific legislation in Colorado is the coalition's second-highest state priority.

Finally, outside of the context of the larger Mountain West strategy, the groups will also begin to push in earnest for the protection of specific places. starting with Valle Vidal in New Mexico, with the intention of building support for increased lands protection in many other areas, such as parts of the Alaska Strategic Petroleum Reserve and Wyoming.

 

NoDOG.

 

At the center of the Western campaign is a new effort, currently referred to as No Dirty Oil and Gas or NoDOG. The NoDOG strategy is a three-year plan designed to win a complete restructuring of the laws governing terrestrial oil and gas operations. Among the key issues that the strategy plans to address is what the activists call the degradation of public lands, the use and liberation of toxic metals and chemicals in oil and gas operations, drilling wastes treatment and surface owner protection.

The strategy has two elements. The first is a series of state-based campaigns. These campaigns will advocate specific pieces of state legislation, each of which will address one of the priority region-wide issues. The passage of one of these state laws - such as a surface owners' protection in New Mexico -will be used by members of the coalition in other states to justify a similar state law. According to this strategy, once a number of states have passed such laws, national groups will argue that the federal government should harmonize the statutes.

 

In parallel with the state campaigns will be a market campaign. The campaign will not focus on a specific target until 2008, buts its goal will be to win major concessions from one or two major oil and gas operators in the West. These concessions will form the basis for a code of conduct that will be offered in the industry. The campaign figures that if two or three companies sign on to the code of conduct, it will weaken industry’s hand at the state level and in Congress, as some in the industry will be on record supporting elements of the NoDOG legislative proposals.

 

NoDOG Market Campaign – Phase One.

 

NoDOG’s first phase, which will begin in January, will take one year and will focus on bringing attention to the environmental effects of oil and gas operations. The first phase will look like a traditional public interest information - awareness campaign, but its end goal will be to establish a baseline set of standards for oil and gas operations. Over the following two years, specific oil and gas operations and corporations will be held to this standard. Companies will be asked to meet the standard or improve upon it or face a market campaign (public attacks on the company from a broad coalition of NGOs).

In 2007, the organizations involved in the campaign will:

·        Launch a new corporate campaign website (www.nodog.org has been taken, so they are looking for another site name.

·        Issue a report outlining problems with current oil and gas operations.

·        Recruit “victim groups” who can be profiled in the report and who can be called upon the testify at the state and federal level.

·        Broaden coalition to increase the number of traditional Republican constituencies and hook-and-bullet enthusiasts.

·        In a media campaign, publicize the relationship between the negative effects of oil and gas operations and specific products, including gasoline and plastics.

 

By the end of 2007, the goal of the market campaign aspect of the NoDOG strategy is to have  increased the perception nationwide that oil and gas operations cause environmental damage, health effects (particularly to children) and generally anger local residents. The goal is to set the stage for a corporate campaign, where a single specific corporation (not yet identified) will be singled out as causing a litany of health and community problems in the West.

 

NoDOG State campaigns in 2007.

 

In the state element of the NoDOG strategy, OGAP has determined three priority state battles, two in New Mexico, one in Colorado.

 

New Mexico – Surface Owners Protection.

 

In New Mexico, a broad coalition of national, regional and local groups will join to press for the passage of the Surface Owners Protection Act and to win a ban on unlined production waste pits.

 

OGAP member groups have built what they consider to be a close alliance with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association to support the surface owners protection bill. OGAP has not yet finished drafting the final bill that they will push for the legislature and governor to support, but the group is already looking into ad buys to December and January to urge New Mexicans to call or email their legislators and demand surface owner protection. The ads will be augmented with public service announcement that will run on the radio and television in what they determine are “priority communities.” Together the activists hope that this will continue to spur demand inside the legislature for a surface owner protection bill.

In support of the bill once it is introduced, the coalition will continue to take out ads in key areas. Crucial to this campaign will be to update the group’s comparison of the proposed New Mexico bill to those surface owner protection bills that have already passed. Finally, they will pay particular attention to surface owner protection laws in Wyoming and Oklahoma, and depending on what the conclude, will use these either to bolster their effort or to show what “watering down” of the OGAP proposal would do.

The key area in New Mexico where OGAP has focused its media attention in the past are:

·        Colifax.

·        Framingham (city).

·        Carlsbad (city).

·        Otero.

·        Rio Arriba.

These are the likely areas of focus for the 2007 public service announcements and ad buys, but this is not yet certain.

 

New Mexico – Unlined Protection Waste Pits.

 

OGAP and its allied groups will call on New Mexico to:

 

·        Ban the use of unlined production waste pits.

·        Require companies to test their pit wastes and dispose of hazardous waste in “appropriate” facilities.

·        Require closed loop systems in areas with groundwater close to the surface.

 

OGAP will fight for these three elements as part of one single strategy on drilling wastes in the state. The coalition plans to use the state Oil Conservation Division's public meetings as the chief venues for bringing their objectives to the state's regulators, the media and the public.

In support of their testimony at these public meetings, the coalition will issue a report in March that will contend that current industry disposal practices has led to significant groundwater contamination. In addition to the report, they will find spokespeople from communities in the Southeast and Northwest parts of the state, who will provide "first hand" stories of the contamination that can be caused by current disposal practices.

Throughout the year, the coalition will also bring attention to forthcoming studies by longtime oil opponent Wilma Subra and by environmental health advocate Theo Colburn. Both activists will be held out as "experts" - Subra in the basics of oil and gas operations and waste disposal: Colburn on the health effects of exposure to certain chemicals used in oil and gas operations.

In addition to the reports and testimony by these two experts, the coalition will take out ads in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque newspapers focused on the need for the state Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) to address disposal issues.

Finally, near the end of the year, the coalition wants to set the stage for a series of experts reports and testimony for the OCC hearing on disposal rules. The activists expect this meeting in the late-fall 2007.

 

Colorado-Right to Know.

 

Arguing that no agency regulates the public health impacts of the chemicals used and released during oil and gas development in the state, OGAP and its allies will press for a law that will require companies to disclose the chemicals they use during oil and gas extraction. This effort will build on a similarly themed campaign in 2006 in which the coalition called on the state Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE). The goal in 2007 is to turn the rhetorical battle of 2006 into actual regulation.

The primary strategic objective is to win passage of legislation that would explicitly give CDPHE authority to demand disclosure and monitoring of chemical releases in the oil and gas industry. A second goal is to have the legislation demand that CDPHE develop rules that would prevent negative health impacts from oil and gas operations.

The coalition plane to bring attention to the chemicals used and liberated during oil and gas operations. They will release a report, likely written by Theo Colburn, on the health impacts of these chemicals, and it will pay particular attention to those chemicals that are banned in Europe but still allowed for use in the United States. This report will also discuss the primary ways that Coloradoans come into contact with these chemicals.

In support of the issue, OGAP and its allies will try to win (and publicize) the endorsement of local and statewide public officials, who will pledge to support the expansion of CDPHE's authority. The coalition is also looking to recruit nurses and others from the health field to act as spokespeople, rather than relying solely on familiar environmental advocates.

Once local political figures and some health professionals have agreed to speak out on the issue of the health effects of chemicals used in oil and gas operations, the coalition will begin to publicize their demands in earnest. They will to buy ads and place public service announcements in various media across the state. The coalition will also begin to work with the editorial boards of the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Durango Herald, Glenwood Post and Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The coalition hopes to begin their recruitment efforts in mid-December and to begin bringing public attention to the proposal legislation in mid-January.

 

NoDOG -The Longer Term.

 

The goal of the NoDOG strategy in 2007 is to introduce the concept that oil and gas operations have negative consequences for surface owners and for public health. OGAP and its allies believe that if they are able to simultaneously bring national attention to the West as an environmental battleground and also pass two of the three major state efforts into law, they will have a solid platform from which they can begin their second phase.

The highlight of the second phase will be the distribution of a code of conduct for the industry. The code of conduct will encompass a number of existing state laws, and companies that sign on will agree not to use the proscribed methods in any state - not just those where it is illegal. Meanwhile, the activists will single out one of the major players in the industry as a particularly bad actor. This target will receive considerable negative publicity that the activists will both distract corporate leadership and which they hope to use to make permitting more difficult for the company that has been singled out.

By 2009, the coalition hopes to have led at least one company to have signed on to the code of conduct. It will then present the code of conduct and a selection of new state laws together to Congress as the basis for the argument that the federal government is far behind industry and the states in protecting the public from oil and gas operations. The market campaign and the state laws, then, will together form the basis for a new federal law governing oil and gas.