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New "concerned citizens group" has deep pockets and close ties to oil industry

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Prior to Connex, Lounds worked at ConoccoPhillips from 1996-1998 as the Surmount Project Manager. Surmount was ConoccoPhillips’ first pilot project for in situa term to describe bitumen extraction from oil sands. The project was a 50-50 joint venture with Total E&P Canada.From 1970-1996, he worked with BP in various roles: Human Resources Benefits and Compensation Analyst (1970-81), Petroleum Engineer (1981-84), Engineering Supervisor (1984-88), Chief Engineer (1988), Engineering Manager (1988-1992), General Manager (1992-1996) .In 1992, Lounds was the President of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA).

In addition to this work, Lounds has appeared before the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board as a representative for Japan Canada oil sands Limited. Later, he appeared again before the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board on behalf of Gulf Canada. And from at least 1994-1995, Lounds was the manager for heavy oil at Amoco.

Even though Lounds claims that he's "not a front for the oil industry" and that BC4IP hasn't received any backing from Enbridge or Kinder Morgan, the fact that he won't identify any of the group’s other leaders, members or its media campaign spending, raises some big questions.  

Cleaning up the oil industry's image

The last two weeks have been bad ones for the oil industry's public image. A 2,200-barrel Alberta spill last Monday was followed just two days later by a spill in Minnesota. A broken pipe at Suncor Energy Inc. contaminated the Athabasca River in Alberta the very next day. Then on Friday, a residential Arkansas community was dumped with 10,000 barrels of crude, forcing 22 homes to be evacuated. Then, a Canadian Pacific freight train derailed in northwestern Ontario and one of the 22 cars affected is leaking crude oil. And CP was off by an order of magnitude about the impacts from that spill. A Shell pipeline later burst in Texas, dumping over 30,000 gallons into nearby waterways.

So in a crisis week, groups like British Columbians For International Prosperity fight back with PR. The group alleges that, “[t]here are many organizations who oppose development under any circumstances. Their voices have overshadowed important considerations in improving the standard of living in British Columbia and across the globe”.

Presumably, they are referring to the environmental groups, academics and politicians across the globe this week who are looking at oil sands pipelines under the microscope and wondering if it’s such a good idea after all.

BC4IP’s failure to disclose its close connections to the oil industry is as insincere as its promise to “address the downsides of development in an honest and forthright manner”.

So the next time those ads appear on YouTube, take a moment to recognize the hypocrisy of this so-called concerned citizens' group.

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