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MI Vets Aim to Debunk Oil Message

October 29, 2010

DETROIT - A group of veterans wants to make sure that residents of Michigan have a sense of the true cost of the nation's dependence on imported oil. VoteVets has been running television ads across the state that feature veterans talking about the human, financial and environmental costs of oil. VoteVets says these ads are in response to commercials paid for by oil company front groups.

Steve Maddox is a Marine from Michigan and an Iraq war vet. He says the cost of oil in human suffering and environmental damage isn't posted on the pump.

"Things that aren't baked into that cost are the costs of lives, of constant deployment."

VoteVets is running its own ad campaign, but Maddox points out that it's hard to be heard when competing against hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by oil companies on their advertising.

Dante Zappala, featured in the VoteVets television ad, is the brother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, who was killed in Iraq. He says last year alone, the oil companies spent nearly $320 million on television ads.

"The advertising for the oil companies that is being put up by these front groups is basically trying to scare people and say that clean energy is going to cost them money."

Oil and natural gas industry spokesmen claim the industries are responsible for more than 9 million jobs nationwide and provide billions in government revenues, and warn that those numbers could decline if more renewables come on the market.

Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets, explains petro-dollars are not helping with the cause of energy independence.

"Oil companies do a lot of business in terrorist states. They take their profits and they use it to attack members of Congress who support clean energy legislation and lowering dependence on foreign oil - the strategies we believe are best for our military."

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - MI