DeSmog News — Greenwashing with ‘Renewable Natural Gas’

by Duane Nichols on May 8, 2021

The DeSmog Blog has a longstanding record of speaking out

Message From the Editorial Board of DeSmog Blog, Worldwide Web

From the Letter of Brendan DeMelle, Executive Director, DeSmog Blog, May 8, 2021

More than 40 cities have enacted bans on new gas infrastructure, but in the Pacific Northwest one company is trying a new tactic to head off climate policy. In recent months, Oregon utility Northwest Natural has been promoting its use of “renewable natural gas” — methane captured from places like landfills and repurposed into energy for homes. Its push to promote its green image comes on the heels of a contentious effort by officials to require carbon emissions reductions from the company. Read Nick Cunningham’s story.

Meanwhile, a new government report highlights federal failures to oversee offshore drilling. The report found that 97 percent of the time, existing regulations on environmental protection and cleanup are not enforced. More proposed rules to fix the broken regulatory system, however, are a distraction from the real issue of the government failing to hold the oil industry accountable, argues Justin Mikulka.

Finally, this week five environmental groups filed a lawsuit in a Montana federal court alleging that the way the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues permits for oil and gas pipelines nationwide violates some of the country’s cornerstone environmental laws. The lawsuit is the most recent round in a nearly decade-long battle, sparked under the Obama administration, over how regulators approach the environmental impacts from oil and gas pipelines and the extent to which the public gets a say in the permitting process. Sharon Kelly reports.

Have a story tip or feedback? Get in touch:

Thanks, Brendan DeMelle, Executive Director, DeSmog Blog

P.S. Readers like you make it possible for DeSmog to hold accountable powerful people in industry and government. Even a $10 or $20 donation helps support DeSmog’s investigative journalism.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Wildfire May 9, 2021 at 8:29 am

Oh yes!

Really good info here.

Thank you.


DeSmog Blog May 10, 2021 at 10:17 am

Energy4US — Background, From the DeSmog Blog describes itself as a “coalition of consumers, businesses and workers united in the belief that energy empowers us, allows us choices and improves our quality of life.”

Energy4US appears to have grown out of a campaign titled “Secure Our Fuels” organized by The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), an industry PR group closely tied with HBW Resources, a lobbying and public affairs firm with historic ties to Alberta tar sands and proponent of the Keystone KL Pipeline. Known funders of CEA include industry groups the American Petroleum Institute (API), the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), while members include petroleum giants BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Chevron, among others.

Energy4US lists its own members as including prominent trade groups and oil and energy industry advocates such as American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC).

According to their website, Energy4US focuses on an anti-regulatory stance with relations to vehicles: “Consumers, workers, families, and businesses should have the right to choose what cars to drive and what fuels to use. We should be able to decide what works best for us, not the government.”

Stance on Climate Change

According to their “What We Believe” section, Energy4US opposes a carbon tax, renewable fuel mandates, and other forms of government regulations:

“Whether it is a carbon tax, a mandate on consumers to use a particular fuel, or some other way to limit or take away consumer choice, government efforts to make energy decisions for consumers are usually expensive, impair reliability, have few (if any) benefits, are complicated, and create unnecessary bureaucracies.”

Ties to Other Industry Groups

According to the Internet Archive, as of 2015 the Consumer Energy Alliance’s former website redirected to ( is now owned by an industrial supply company).

The first and second blog posts at the Energy4US website reaffirm that grew from CEA‘s SecureOurFuels campaign.

Before SecureOurFuels (SOF) began redirecting to the Energy4US website in 2015, contact information at the SOF website listed names of CEA staff members Casey O’Shea, Michael Whatley and David Holt. Michael Whatley and David Holt are two of the three founders and partners listed at HBW Resources.

The website features CEA vice president Michael Whatley’s work on low carbon fuel standards repeatedly. Referring to Whatley as a “leading low-carbon fuel expert,” the website also features Whatley’s talking points on its “Gettin’ the facts out” page.

American Fuel & Petrochemical Alliance (AFPM)

According to old WHOIS website registration information, Energy4US was formerly registered to Victor Adams, head of websites and marketing at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). Other deviations of and .org were also registered to Victor Adams.

American Petroleum Institute (API)

Paul Hartman, a senior policy advisor at API, introduced himself as “Coalition Advisor to Energy4US” in an email to a Rhode Island building and trade group. In the email, published at RI, Hartman described how “a few comments on Facebook” were suggesting that “Energy4US is ‘only a big Oil’ entity’.”

According to LinkedIn, Hartman was Regional Director of State Affairs at America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) when he sent the email in June 2016. ANGA later merged with API in December 2016. Hartman never listed his connection to Energy4US on his public LinkedIn, however confirmed in an email to RI Future that he had “recently come on board as the Coalition Advisor.”


The funding sources for the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), the group that appears to be behind the Energy4US campaign. CEA‘s known donors include the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), according to publicly available tax forms and data collected by the Conservative Transparency project.

Related Organizations

Coalition Members

Energy4US includes a range of industry trade groups and associations, a number of which advocate on behalf of the petroleum industry:

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
American Highway Users Alliance
Association of Union Constructors
Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire
Chicago Cook County Building Trades
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Connecticut Association of Community Pharmacies
Connecticut Business and Industry Association
Connecticut Energy Marketers Association
Connecticut Food Association
Connecticut State Building Trades and Construction Council
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Manufacturers Association
Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York (IOGANY)
Iron Workers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity
Iron Workers District Council of New England
Iron Workers District Council of New York State
Iron Workers District Council of Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Northern West Virginia
Iron Workers District Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity
Iron Workers District Council of Southern Ohio and Vicinity
Iron Workers District Council of the Southeastern States
Iron Workers Management Progressive Action Trust
Iron Workers’ District Council of the Mid-Atlantic States
Laborers’ District Council of Connecticut
Laborers’ District Council of Eastern New York
Laborer’s District Council of Massachusetts and Northern New England
Laborers’ District Council of Rhode Island
Laborer’s District Council of Upstate New York
Manufacturers Association of Maine
Massachusetts Building Trades Council
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
Morris County Chamber of Commerce
Motor Transport Association of Connecticut
National Association of Neighborhoods
National Black Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Businesses – New York
National Sheriff’s Association
New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council
New York Business Council
New York State Building and Construction Trades Council
Office of the Sheriff City and County of Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Recreational Fishing Alliance
Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Teamsters Joint Council 28 (Washington State)
Teamsters Local 633 (New Hampshire)
Teamsters Local 639 (Washington, DC)
Teamsters Local 763 (Washington State)
Teamsters Local 671 (Connecticut)
Teamsters Local 959 (Alaska)
Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Contact & Address

Energy4US lists their address as follows:

P. O. BOX 15541

The above address appears to be listed for Mike Collins PR, the company that co-runs the website with Ampersand Digital.


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