A PR firm working for Chevron is operating websites made to appear like local news outlets in regions, particularly in Texas’ Permian Basin, experiencing a rapid decline in legitimate local news outlets, Gizmodo reports. San Francisco-based Singer Associates, which also operates a similar outlet in Richmond, California, where Chevron operates a refinery that dumps oil into San Francisco Bay and pollutes the nearby community.

The websites enable Chevron to disseminate industry-friendly greenwashing into a region suffering from a dearth of reliable local news. One-third of local Texas newspapers have closed in the last two decades, and the news vacuum Chevron’s “outlets” fill is especially pronounced in the Permian Basin, where 20% of counties have no local news sources and another 69% have only one β€” often just a weekly paper. “People turn to whatever news source is in front of them,” Maddie Kriger, a consultant for Climate Power, told Gizmodo. β€œFor a site like this, it seems like Chevron wanted a site where disinformation could be dressed up.” (Gizmodo)