12-21-07 by dugan
My earlier doubts about Chevron’s ballyhooed investment in a Galveston biodiesel plant were too mild. After garnering a bunch of admiring news stories, including in the New York Times, Chevron is now being sued by the plant’s operators for bailing out on the investment and failing to provide the expert help it promised. It’s to the credit of the Houston Post’s Brett Clanton that he broke the lawsuit story, since he was among those reporting the original investment. The San Francisco Chronicle at least ran the Clanton story, but there’s been little other mention of the lawsuit outside the Houston media.
That’s the whole point of greenwash, isn’t it? Chevron made a very big PR deal out of the biodiesel plant, issuing at least three detailed press releases about it in 2006 and early 2007. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas (She’s the biggest recipient in Congress of oil company contributions) attended the opening of the plant, assuring good news coverage. Chevron’s 2006 "corporate responsibility" report cites the biodiesel plant and it’s mentioned in passing in two other press releases.
Yet there’s not a peep about its withdrawal from the project or the lawsuit on the Chevron website. That’s how the PR professionals do it, but this greenwashing technique is also why the public doesn’t trust the oil industry or its lavish media campaigns.