New TV Ad Marks Tragic 5th Anniversary of BP Spill

5 Years and 70,000 Oil Spills Later,
It Was No ‘Rare Incident’ and It’s No Time for Lawmakers to Turn Their Back on Renewable Fuels

“Rare Incidents” Airs Today in Des Moines and Chicago



View “Rare Incidents” - Iowa version:

Chicago version:


Washington DC (April 20, 2015) – As today marks the fifth anniversary of the deadly, 87-day long, 200-million gallon BP oil spill, Americans United for Change is up with a hard-hitting TV ad in Des Moines, IA and Chicago, IL condemning the oil industry’s proneness to disaster that seems to have only gotten worse the past five years. While BP airs their own ads congratulating themselves for their cleanup efforts despite the lingering economic and environmental fallout in the Gulf region, AUFC is kicking off Earth Day week with a message that the Deepwater Horizon disaster was only a drop in the bucket for an industry responsible for 14,000 oil spills every year. The message to lawmakers: Don’t help make a bigger mess by repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard or denying consumers the choice of cleaner alternatives like ethanol at the pump.

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change, an environmental advocacy group that launched a campaign in support of the RFS in 2013: “It comes down to this: the more Big Oil drills, the more they spill. If lawmakers discourage innovation towards cleaner renewable fuels of tomorrow, Big Oil will only be encouraged to drill, and spill, more. Over the last five years, ethanol has made up 10 percent of our nation's fuel supply, and the ethanol produced last year displaced over 500 million barrels of crude oil that would’ve otherwise been used to make gasoline. When consumers have more choice of cleaner, cheaper and safer renewable fuels like ethanol at the pump, it means less demand for gasoline made from dirty oil. It’s like preventative medicine for the environment. But if our leaders take steps backward towards more dirty oil consumption - by gutting the RFS or denying consumers cleaner choices - it would lead to even more accidents and spills resulting from fossil fuel extraction and transportation. Haven’t we been polluted enough? 5 years and 70,000 spills later, the BP disaster anniversary should serve as a sobering reminder to our leaders that our nation’s dependence on oil takes a terrible toll on the Earth and its inhabitants.  It’s a reminder why we can’t turn our back on renewable fuels that have been a win-win-win for the environment, for public safety, and the economy.”

The spot called “Rare Incidents” features American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard’s outrageous 2011 comments downplaying the BP disaster as “clearly a rare incident”. What follows is a montage of depressing images from a sampling of the thousands of oil-industry spills and refinery explosions that have occurred in the five years since.  The version in Iowa is directed at Presidential candidates and concludes: “If Washington guts the Renewable Fuel Standard, expect plenty more ‘rare incidents.’ The version in Chicago is aimed at local leaders who are considering a “E15 Clean Air Ordinance” to reduce oil pollution and carcinogens in the air by ensuring E15 ethanol blend is an available option for consumers at all Chicago retail stations, while still having the option to buy the gas they’ve been buying; it concludes: “70,000 “Rare Incidents” Later It’s Time For Chicago Leaders To Give Driver’s A Cleaner Choice: E15”.  In addition, AUFC is running a full page ad in the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday echoing the call to action:


The six-figure effort kicks off an aggressive and ongoing campaign around a new website,, which is a clearing house for the latest local news and reports on oil industry-related disasters in Americans’ own backyards, as well as provocative new web videos and ads from AUFC.





Americans United for Change

“Rare Incidents”
Backup Documentation

TV :30


5 Years Ago…



“A powerful explosion rocked a giant oil rig…”






ABC World News Tonight, 4/21/2010


“…the rig…was mining for energy giant British Petroleum, BP…”



NBC Nightly News, 4/21/2010


“…4.9 million barrels of oil…200 million gallons…”



CNN American Morning, 8/3/2010


“History will eventually judge what the ultimate outcome of the BP oil spill was…this clearly was a rare incident…”



C-SPAN Coverage of American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard’s “State of American Energy”, 1/4/2011


14,000 Oil Spills Reported Each Year

Source: The Environmental Protection Agency






If Washington Guts the Renewable Fuel Standard, Expect Plenty More ‘Rare Incidents’


Renewable Fuels Association: FACT: “Without 14.3 billion gallons of domestic ethanol used in the U.S. in 2014, the United States' net import dependence would have stood at 35% instead of 28%. For the past five years, ethanol has constituted 10% of our nation's gasoline supply, providing valuable octane and lowering consumer prices at the pump.  In effect, the ethanol produced in 2014 displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 512 million barrels of crude oil - slightly more than the amount of oil imported annually from Saudi Arabia.”




70,000 “Rare Incidents” Later

It’s Time For Chicago Leaders To Give Driver’s A Cleaner Choice:




14,000 spills/yr x 5 = 70,000


Fuels America, March 20, 2015: “A new analysis produced by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s principal research economist Dr. Stefen Mueller found that giving consumers more access to cleaner fuel options like E15 would provide significant environmental benefits. E15 is a cleaner burning, high-octane, high-performance fuel that also costs about 5 cents less per gallon than regular gasoline. … In Illinois, offering E15 would reduce carbon pollution by 663,646 metric tons per year.”







Paid For By Americans United For Change