“Big Oil wants you to believe drilling in North Carolina and along our beautiful beaches is the best way to create jobs here,” says one advertisement. “Why not build on what we already have? A world-class research base and a growing number of jobs in solar, energy efficiency and biofuels.”
An NRDC spokesman called the environmental group’s ad buy “substantial,” though admitted it falls short of what the American Petroleum Institute (API) intends to spend.
API’s multimillion-dollar campaign in those states, which will run through the Nov. 6 election, advocates for more gas and oil drilling to increase fossil fuel supplies. The organization believes greater access to cheap energy sources would spark an economic recovery.
NRDC said the radio ads would run at least through early next week, but would consider extending the operation if it gets positive feedback.
Polls have shown President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney running a close race in all three of those states.
RealClearPolitics.com, which aggregates polling figures, gives Obama a 0.6-percentage-point lead in Florida. Romney has a 3.5-percentage-point edge in North Carolina, and leads by 0.8 percentage points in Virginia.
One of the main planks in Romney’s energy platform is increased oil-and-gas drilling on federal offshore and onshore lands. Obama has begun to embrace natural gas, but has more vocally plugged his clean-energy record.