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Oil Lobby Launches Advertising Blitz

The American Petroleum Institute, the trade association for Big Oil, has launched an advertising campaign to respond to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Until now the oil industry has largely let BP take the lead on public relations efforts in the aftermath of the spill, which polls show is increasingly souring Americans’ support for offshore drilling.

The API ad campaign, which includes print and radio spots, states that the oil and gas industry is working to help BP and government authorities respond to the spill. It also provides a website that people can visit to find out what the industry is doing.

“API is seeking to participate in the national debate on oil and natural gas to ensure that decisions that impact America’s economic and energy security are not made in a vacuum or based on incomplete information,” API spokeswoman Cathy Landry said.

Landry said the API campaign is not being coordinated with BP’s own paid media efforts, which have included daily ads in national newspapers and on the Gulf Coast. She said the group does not release cost figures for its advertising campaigns.

The API ads are running in inside-the Beltway publications, including Roll Call, big-city newspapers and in the Gulf Coast markets, Landry said.

On Thursday, API also announced the formation of two new industry task forces to address subsea well control and spill response and cleanup. The trade group had previously formed two task forces focused on offshore equipment and operating practices.

The oil industry’s voice isn’t the only one trying to shape the public debate. Environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, have been running ads critical of Big Oil, in the aftermath of the spill.

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