Drilling Away at Poverty

On July 15, "an unlikely alliance" rallied in Washington DC to "stop the war on the poor" by increasing U.S. domestic oil and gas production. The rally was organized by the self-described civil rights group Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the pro-drilling front group Americans for American Energy and the conservative group High Impact Leadership Coalition. Rally speakers stressed "the need to expand domestic oil and gas production with the goal of reducing fuel costs for low-income households that feel a disproportionate pinch from rising energy prices," reports Jenny Mandel. Signs at the rally included "My family needs affordable energy" and "Environmental groups don't feed my family." CORE has received funding from ExxonMobil. CORE's Niger Innis said the group favors "government spending on oil shale, coal and drilling on the continental shelf and throughout Alaska," because "when these resources are developed ... that is going to have a direct impact on the price of fuel." While some rally attendees told Mandel about their difficulties "budgeting around today's gasoline prices," others "backed away from a reporter with a notebook. ... One woman, who declined to give her name, said she was demonstrating at her boss's behest."