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July 24, 2008
Oil Drillers? Lies Are Too Damaging To Be Ignored
The Pencil Warrior
SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- Normally I keep the business of this column above that of debunking obvious oil industry PR.
I give my readers credit for seeing through such obviously self-serving ? and bogus ? stunts as British Petroleum?s new translation of its familiar BP logo to mean ?Beyond Petroleum? or Chevron?s proclaimed new emphasis on ?corporate responsibility,? ?protecting the environment? and ?human energy.?
No matter how much giant energy corporations dress up their pigs, they still tend to let off a pronounced barnyard aroma.
But with so many elected officials and would-be opinion makers joining in the current tripe-throwing spree surrounding the hyped need for increased domestic drilling for oil, many a good citizen is being led astray.
As astronomical increases in the costs of dead-end energy sources bring Americans to desperation, many have allowed themselves to be wooed by the siren song of the very forces which arguably brought us to this point. The current moment is so pivotal in our country?s destiny that I cannot watch false claims to go unexposed or uncorrected.
The president, his party?s prospective successor, and other old Republican warhorses have mounted a shrill media campaign that, by cleverly-worded implication, promises lower pump prices if only their long-term sugar daddies are allowed unfettered access to domestic reserves.
?The only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress,? Bush said July 14.
John McCain echoed the refrain: ?I think that this and perhaps providing additional incentives for states to permit exploration off their coasts would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis.?
Meanwhile, resurrected GOP savior Newt Gingrich, who was fined $300,000 and formally censured by his own Republican congressional majority for fraudulent practices in 1997, is back with his ?Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less? campaign, underwritten by a group of well-heeled oil business types.
As I?ve been advising readers for years, ?follow the money.? Between 2000 and 2004, 79 percent of the oil and gas industry?s $75 million national ?investment? in political campaigns went to Republicans.
When citizen outrage over unprecedented industry profits provoked a Congressional proposal for windfall profit taxes, the industry chunked in another $17 million for lobbyists to kill the idea.
This political season, oil and gas has contributed more than $18 million, with about 74 percent going to Republican candidates and 26 percent to Democrats.
But all the tea in Houston can?t undo the clear words of the U.S. Energy Information Agency?s ?Energy Outlook 2007? report: ?The projections in the Outer Continental Shelf access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.?
In the case of the oil industry?s Holy Grail, permission to drill Alaska?s Arctic Wildlife Refuge, the EIA finds that such a boondoggle would lower the price of gasoline by approximately 78 cents per barrel ? or four cents a gallon ? in 2027.
Anyone casually familiar with the concepts of global warming and peak oil and gas (see www.energybulletin.net/primer) already knows that if the world is still that dependent on petroleum use by either 2027 or 2030, it?s all over anyway.
Meanwhile, as the headlines focus on the ping pong match between the drillers? wet dreams and occasional flashes of reality, Republicans in the Senate continue to stonewall the Consumer First Energy Act, which would extend tax credits to encourage further development of renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
In essence, what is at issue is whether the tremendous federal incentives long in place for oil and gas (and coal) should be replicated for energy sources with a real future.
If Congress fails to pass this bill, it will have plunged a dagger into the heart of future energy availability, at the same time eliminating a massive and badly-needed new job market.
I am not arguing that oil and gas will not figure in our energy future. Through unscrupulous means, our current energy infrastructure is designed to deliver oil, gas and coal power. We now find ourselves challenged not only to perfect alternative technologies, but also to undertake a massive and long-term retooling of power and transportation systems.
Time and again, when faced with the opportunity to invest in sustainable energies like solar, wind, biomass and thermal, the White House and both parties in Congress have chosen to serve the embedded interests of socially and ecologically-destructive industries.
The choice has been framed as the best for the people and best for the economy, but because establishment economists do not figure power ? the hidden kind that buys and sells people ? into their calculations, the results are preordained.
The big winners have always been the high-ranking officers of entrenched energy corporations and the politicians and experts-for-sale who peddle their propaganda. It?s time we change the paradigm.
Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, lives and home-studies in Socorro. Reach him at davewheelock@ yahoo.com. Mr. Wheelock?s views do not necessarily represent those of the Mountain Mail.
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