United States – The members of the natural gas lobbying group were found to be marketing propane as renewable or “clean energy,” which is contrary to the full climate impacts, but an audio recording by HEATED and the Guardian revealed this.

Promoting Propane as Clean Energy

As of last year, according to case studies by Drilled, a multimedia reporting initiative focused on climate accountability, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), a U.S.-based lobbying group, threw USD 30M at ads to promote this fossil fuel. Most of these ads encourage people to use propane as a clean fuel source instead of natural gas or crude oil at the refineries, as reported by The Guardian.

Natural Gas and Propane

However, at a public meeting in November 2022 videotaped by the Energy and Policy Institute, the PERC board accepted the depicted scenario’s incorrectness.

“Natural gas is renewable, according to 25% of people in this millennial and Gen Z bucket, so we can get on that to create an image of propane as a renewable resource,” a board member of PERC without a name said on January 31, 2019.

“You cannot call natural gas renewable,” stated PERC board member Leslie Woodward cautiously.

“Perception,” as the unnamed board member mentioned again.

Faces Scrutiny Over Misleading Claims

Erin Hatcher, PERC’s senior communications and marketing vice president, also agreed that propane was a green energy. “I don’t want us to be in that coal bucket,” she’s heard saying in the recording. “ I want us to be positioned in the clean energy bucket.”

As HEATED and the Guardia joined the conversation, Hatcher reminded that “she did not recall the confusion of propane with renewables. The concern with the image is that all fuels are condemned.”

She added, “There’s no attempt to mislead whatsoever. It’s to educate because the narrative that predominates the news is that there’s only one way to a clean future, and we don’t believe that.” Hatcher and Woodward’s requests for feedback were not answered, and Hatcher claimed she was unable to identify the other board members who had spoken during the meeting, as reported by The Guardian.

This story is co-published with the Guardian.

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