Lobbyist reportedly paid locals to support natural gas trucks over electric trucks at LA/LB Ports.
A lobbyist firm hired by a natural gas company paid locals to attend public meetings to advocate for natural gas-powered trucks over electric trucks at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach in a joint report by the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian.
Why it matters:
Two weeks ago, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued their latest report on global warming. As a result of human activity, the climate crisis has already begun, and that it's going to get worse as long as humans use greenhouse-producing fuels. The report also states that the only way to reverse the effects is to stop using fossil fuels like natural gas.
Lobbyist firms running front groups are nothing new to politics; it's a typical practice in the industry called astroturfing.
Besides creating front groups, lobbyists have created fake Twitter accounts, hired influencers, and paid for misleading ad campaigns, per the Business Insider.
The EPA says the natural gas industry" is a significant source of emissions of methane."
The state of play: The Times reports that Method Campaign Services hired at least 20 residents as a front group to attend public meetings and press conferences to push for natural gas-powered "near-zero-emission" trucks at the port. Natural gas is less polluting than a diesel-powered truck but still contributes to climate change.
One San Pedro resident told The Guardian that Method Campaign Services misled her in believing they were "standing up for sustainability" as part of a pro-environmental campaign.
In 2017, Method Campaign Services was reportedly paid $10,000 by Clean Energy Fuels Corp, a chain of natural gas fueling stations across Southern California.
Southern California Gas Company's logo appeared on the pamphlet handed out by canvassers, and some found the gig on Indeed paying them a reported $20 an hour.
The LA Times and Floodlight report that they weren't able to confirm if all of the 20 hired residents were part of the organized campaign, but nearly all spoke at a harbor commission meeting.
According to financial disclosures, Method founder Brian VanRiper's spouse, Samantha Millman, is on L.A.'s city planning commission.