13 Nov Have You Met “Dr. Evil” Yet?
November 13, 2014 –
The oil and gas industry is soliciting public relations advice from–you guessed it–“Dr. Evil.” His basic game plan for oil and gas industry executives is to “win ugly” by hiding who bankrolls his work, and to “play dirty” and mislead the public on the risks of oil and gas development. Worse, he’s “already collected six-figure contributions from some of the executives in the room” at a June event put on by the Western Energy Alliance, a pro-industry trade group.
In 2007, CBS did a profile on Richard Berman and noted that “…he takes a certain pride, even joy, in the nickname ‘Dr. Evil.’ But the people who use it see nothing funny about it-they mean it.” He even has a Dr. Evil figurine on his desk. Seriously.
In the June speech to oil and gas industry executives, “Dr. Evil” told them to “think of this as an endless war…” and that “you can either win ugly or lose pretty.” He encouraged the oil and gas executives to dig “up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists” and “…to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups.”
The presentation was exposed and first reported by The New York Times after an executive who attended the conference said that they left the meeting with “a bad taste in my mouth.”
Other industry leaders in attendance had a different reaction: “It’s brilliant in its simplicity,” said one of the audience members. “This has been very, very helpful,” said another.
For more information about Richard Berman and his speech, you can click here to read the first report from The New York Times, click here to read a transcript of the speech and view the conference attendees, click here to listen to the audio recording of Berman’s presentation and click here for a summary of audience member reactions.
Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry continues to drill and frack new wells every day, subjecting area residents and the environment to the risks and hazards that come along with development. In just the last few weeks and months:
- a new scientific study raises great cause for concern about public health near drilling sites (click here to read the study);
- the alarming number of infant deaths in heavily drilled areas of Utah is raising new questions for researchers;
- a Colorado drill-rig worker died in a tragic accident;
- an important aquifer in California was contaminated with billions of gallons of fracking waste water; and
- in Ohio, a well blowout killed an estimated 70,000 fish and another blowout caused public safety personnel to evacuate 400 homes.