Astroturf is made from petrochemicals. So is political astroturf. ThinkProgress finds that some Iowa "activists" promoting Keystone XL and other fossil fuel boondoggles at GOP presidential campaign events are really PR tools fronting the oil and gas industry:

During the event, two young people in the back of the room handed out cards and pamphlets from a new organization called the Iowa Energy Forum. "We're a grassroots group," said Connor Reed, one of people sporting Iowa Energy Forum t-shirts. The website for the forum says it is simply "a growing community of concerned citizens committed to two goals &ndash achieving energy security for our country and holding our elected officials accountable for shaping energy policies." The website highlights Canadian tar sands and the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as the need for more domestic drilling.

Rather than being a grassroots organization, the Iowa Energy Forum is a slick, new creation of the oil and gas industry. The group is financed by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association representing Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Transcanada, Shell Oil, and other oil industry heavyweights [Lee Fang, "Exclusive: Oil Industry Forms New Astroturf Group To Manipulate 2012 Republican Primary In Iowa," Think Progress: Green, 2011.06.25].

Expect these fakers add support for the Hyperion oil refinery to their list of PR "questions."

South Dakota has its own "Energy Forum," with a website copied directly from the corporate template:

 

Screen Caps showing identical templates for Iowa and South Dakota"Energy Forum" front groups for oil and gas industry, June 26, 2011

Screen Caps showing identical templates for Iowa and South Dakota"Energy Forum" front groups for oil and gas industry, June 26, 2011. Click to enlarge.

The Issues pages for the Iowa and South Dakota groups are identical. The IAEF and SDEF "About Us" pages open with identical language about being "a growing community of concerned citizens committed to two goals &ndash achieving energy security for our country and holding our elected officials more accountable in shaping energy policies." Both of their Resources pages (SD and IA) link back to the American Petroleum Institute and its Energy Tomorrow marketing campaign for "facts" about oil and gas. And both forums offer identical petitions for folks duped into the astroturf to sign (customized only to reflect whether the signer is from South Dakota or Iowa).

You can find similar websites for Nebraska, Minnesota (cleverly branded "Northstar"), North Dakota, Montana, Missouri, Arkansas, and a whole bunch of other states listed on AmericasEnergyForum.com. These sites are not grassroots groups. They are one big oil industry front, promoting dirty energy, dirty air, and dirty money for their own dirty pockets.