Fossil Free Media

No Dirty Deals

Putting people over polluters and stopping a dirty deal

The challenge

In 2022, Democrats held a narrow majority in the Senate that heavily hinged on the influence of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). As they sought to pass a budget that invested in building infrastructure and environmental resilience, Sen. Manchin was actively seeking to undermine the party’s climate agenda. Under the guise of “permit reform,” the senator backed legislation that threatened public health and front line communities. The dangerous, Big Oil-backed legislation would repeal key pieces of environmental law, open the door to dangerous energy reforms, and fast track oil and gas projects.

The Washington Post wrap

The idea

We needed to inform voters and legislators about the true nature of Manchin’s proposals, which were a thinly veiled excuse to advance a natural gas pipeline across West Virginia. The senator’s “permit reform” moniker needed to be rebranded for what it truly was, and people needed to be quickly informed about what was at stake. Our work promoted the more accurate “Dirty Deal” name, and we compiled messages and tools that revealed Sen. Manchin’s true intentions and helped condition the communications environment in our favor. We also helped mobilize constituents in key districts to contact their elected leaders asking them to stop Sen. Manchin’s legislation from moving forward.

No Dirty Deals website

The work

Strategically timed to coincide with major chamber votes, we developed and launched print ads to run in Washington, D.C. publications. Ad creative depicted the power and strength of frontline voices as well as the nature of the dirty legislation, which would increase pollution and worsen climate impacts. Prior to the vote on Sen. Manchin’s bill, support was relatively strong among lawmakers. Our quick mobilization of paid media alerted undecided decision-makers to the swell of public discontent and foreshadowed an incoming organized response if Congress sided with the oil and gas industry. Our microsite and organizing toolkit was deployed by organizers nationwide to inform and engage a growing base of frustrated voters. Collectively, the communications materials helped the issue grow to a fever pitch in D.C., and the creative was recognized across the industry, winning “Best Newspaper Insert” at the American Association of Political Consultants’ Pollie Awards. 

No Dirty Deals website
Social toolkit

The impact

Two days after our print ad saturated Capitol Hill, lawmakers voted to reject Senator Manchin’s Dirty Deal. The action meant that the bill intended to fast-track permitting for harmful, dirty fossil fuel projects was defeated, signaling a major win for the climate, environment, and frontline communities. The campaign offered timely pressure and validation for key decision-makers and laid a strong foundation of support for President Biden to make good on his commitments to climate and communities.

AAPC Pollie Award